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EPCC Celebrates First-Generation College Students and Graduates

The El Paso Community College Foundation kicks-off a weeklong celebration of first-generation students and graduates the week of November 8, 2020.

Thousands of current EPCC students, alumni, faculty, and staff were the first in their families to access higher education. EPCC has graduated more than 85,000 local students in its fifty-one year history.

November 8, 2020, marks the 55th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Higher Education Act , which helped millions of first-generation and low-income students earn college degrees.

Beginning Sunday, November 8, and throughout the week, the EPCC Foundation will celebrate First Gen week, with support from the EPCC Equity group.

The celebration will feature EPCC success stories via social media, in conjunction with the Council for Opportunity for Education (COE), and Center for First-generation student success.

Across all social media platforms, EPCC students, graduates, faculty, and staff will join the First-Gen celebration to share their aspirations, success stories and answer, “Why I’m First....” using hashtags #EPCCPride, #CelebrateFirstGen and tagging @EPCCNews.

Those not on social media may email their stories to

“I wanted to set the example for my children and show them that no matter what life throws at you, if you set your mind you can always reach your dreams.” --Diana Valenzuela, 2019 EPCC graduate, Business & Accounting.

“I set out to make my family proud and to set an example for my family and friends. In return a college education set my path to making a positive impact on our community. GO 1st Gen!” – Lucia Rodriguez, EPCC Director, Office of Student Success.

Colleges across the nation are commemorating the success of many first generation students in overcoming challenges the week of November 8.

“We continue to be astounded by the thoughtful, creative, and empowering celebrations we are seeing from institutions across the country,” said Maureen Hoyler, present of the Council for Opportunity in Education.

“Now more than ever it’s critical we use this celebration to recommit to supporting, nurturing and encouraging the outstanding potential that exists within so many first-generation students,” said Holder.

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