A catalyst for first-generation student success

The Suder Foundation gives to create First-Generation Center for Student Success

The Suder Foundation, Plano, Texas, has given $600,000 toward creating a First-Generation Center for Student Success at Kansas State University.

Just over 25 percent of Kansas State University’s students are the first in their immediate families to attend college or university. The Suder Foundation’s latest gift to the university will serve as a catalyst to unite programs, people and resources in support of the success of these first-generation students.

First-generation students are academic pioneers. With strategic assistance and mentoring, these students can academically achieve on par with peers who have more higher education experience and preparation prior to enrolling in the university. Ashley Coleman was a first-generation student who was selected to participate in The Suder Foundation’s signature program, First Scholars, at Kansas State University. He graduated magna cum laude from the College of Engineering in December 2017.

“Traversing college is difficult for everyone,” Coleman said. “There will be a lot of questions you will want to ask when you get here. First Scholars and the First-Generation Center for Student Success will be able to point you in the right direction for these and many more questions. The program exists to maximize your chances of success in college. To The Suder Foundation, I want to thank you. Any successes I have in the future are also your successes.”

While this is not the first gift The Suder Foundation has given toward promoting first-generation students’ success at K-State, the First-Generation Center for Student Success will enable the university to align resources to help these trailblazing students develop successful study practices, make best use of campus support resources, navigate the university’s academic requirements and continue through to graduation.

“The Suder Foundation’s highest goals are to engage, empower, and transform lives — and impact the culture of higher education for systemic first-gen student success,” said Diane Schorr, executive director of The Suder Foundation. “Our goal for the First-Generation Center for Student Success at K-State is to provide leadership and coordination of campus-wide efforts dedicated to systemic first-gen student success — addressing needs of individual students and campus stakeholders.”

The First-Generation Center for Student Success will be located in the Academic Achievement Center in Holton Hall and be a part of the University Success Center.

“Throughout the years, The Suder Foundation has served as a champion of first-generation student success,” said Stephanie Bannister, assistant vice president for student life. “They are advocating for national attention to the needs of first-generation students, and when they learned about K-State’s 2025 plan and our Higher Learning Commission Quality Initiative Project to improve graduation rates among first-generation students, they immediately asked how they could support this work. Their gift will allow us to leverage this momentum into institutional change that allows K-State to live out our land-grant mission to provide access to education.”

As Kansas State University’s strategic partner for philanthropy, the KSU Foundation inspires and guides philanthropy toward university priorities to boldly advance K-State family. The foundation is leading Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas State University to raise $1.4 billion for student success, faculty development, facility enhancement and programmatic success. 

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