At Richmond, we’re dedicated to providing our students with opportunities to learn, thrive and develop skills to launch successful careers, particularly those determined students who are the first in their families to pursue an undergraduate degree. That’s why we started the Spider Firsts program four years ago to create a sense of community.

Our own president, Dr. Crutcher, is a first-generation grad himself, and highlighting the achievement of our 117 first-gen senior Spiders is a mission close to his heart. For this year’s commencement, he felt it was important for the parents to see their children walk across the stage with special cords representing their accomplishments. 

“This is the first year that students who have been part of the Spider Firsts program since they were first-years will be graduating,” said Lisa Miles, coordinator of first-gen student support. “It seemed like the perfect time to recognize these students for their outstanding accomplishment.” 

Over the last few years, first-gen students have made up a steady 13-15 percent of our student population — a number we hope only increases.

“[Spider Firsts] has helped me by providing me access to a community of members that I could turn to and lean on whenever I felt discouraged,” said Pierre Galloway, a graduating healthcare studies major. “When I first got to this school I didn’t realize the amount of faculty that were also a part of this community … I knew I was destined for greater things and discovering programs like Spider Firsts confirmed that idea.”

We are so proud of all of our graduates and are looking forward to seeing them at commencement next month!

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