We Are First-Gen

Throughout its history, William Paterson has served to educate those who are the first in their families to attend college—from its very beginning in 1855 as a normal school established to train teachers for Paterson’s public schools, to today, when close to half of the University’s undergraduates are first-generation college students.

These first-generation alumni, along with our current students, are, in every sense of the word, Pioneers, and part of what makes our campus community so special. The University celebrates our first-generation students and alumni, their Will. Power., and their profound impact on their communities and beyond. And they are supported by a significant number of WP faculty and staff who are also first-gen graduates and share the unique perspective that comes with being the first in your family to attend college.

Here, some of our first-gen alumni, faculty, and staff talk to us, in their words, about the impact of their experiences.