Baylor University Receives First-gen Forward Advisory Institution Designation, National Honor for Commitment to First-generation Student Success

June 17, 2020
First-generation Advisory Institution

Media Contact: Tonya B. Hudson, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-644-3301
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WACO, Texas (June 17, 2020) – The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently elevated 11 First-gen Forward Institutions, including Baylor University, to the Advisory Institution designation.

The First-gen Forward Advisory Institution designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences and a first look at the Center’s research and resources.

In 2019, Baylor was selected among the Center’s inaugural cohort of First Forward Institutions for its commitment to the success of first-generation students. Baylor’s First in Line program is a support unit that provides scholarships, directed programming, mentoring and a network of faculty and staff to assist first-generation college student success. As part of the Paul L. Foster Success Center-Student Success Initiatives, the First in Line program works with various offices across campus to create opportunities for leadership development, academic enhancement and campus involvement. The program provides services directly to students, trainings for faculty and staff, and family engagement.

“The Center is so pleased to acknowledge Baylor University as a First-gen Forward Advisory Institution,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, senior director of the Center for First-generation Student Success. “Now, in its second year, First-gen Forward Institutions continue to lead the nation by their commitment to first-generation student success. With the growth of the 2020-21 cohort, we elevated a select number of First-gen Forward Institutions to the Advisory Institution designation and commend these universities, including Baylor, for their stalwart first-generation student efforts and look forward to working more closely through the Advisory designation.”

“This honored recognition acknowledges Baylor’s innovative work and commitment to first-generation student success,” said Michelle Gonzalez, First in Line program manager at Baylor. “In the coming year, we will be serving in an advising role within a regional community of peer institutions in higher education. Being part of this national network will help further our impact on first-generation student success.”

As a First-gen Forward Advisory Institution, select faculty and staff will be afforded multiple opportunities to engage with peer and aspirational institutions who are also creating environments that improve the experiences and outcomes of first-generation students. Selected institutions will participate in a virtual First-gen Forward Workshop on June 27, 2020, as well as in monthly phone calls, virtual professional development, goal setting, annual reporting and more.

“The First-gen Forward Advisory designation is an exciting opportunity for Baylor, and its leadership support within the Regional Community will be a great benefit to other First-gen Forward Institutions. It is so fulfilling to see a groundswell of activity across the First-gen Forward cohorts and know Baylor will be a significant contributor to advancing the success of first-generation students,” said Dr. Kevin Kruger, president and CEO of NASPA. “We commend Baylor for its already strong contribution and look forward to engaging more at the Advisory Institution level.”

Learn more about first-generation efforts at Baylor on the First in Line website or contact program director Michelle Gonzalez at or 254-710-6854. Visit to learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success.
NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education is the leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Its work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories. Visit for more information.


The Center for First-generation Student Success is the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. Through four strategic priority areas, the Center drives higher education innovation and advocacy for first-generation student success.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.