Featured Stories

Ed Grogan


Ed Grogan, chair of the Board of Regents, shares his story as a first-generation Lute who rebuilt the engine of his ’62 Chevrolet Impala — with his dad’s help — to cover tuition. Read about why Grogan advocates for the ever-growing contingent of first-in-the-family students at PLU.

From left to right: Kari Plog ’11, Allan Belton, Laree Winer '15 and Eva Frey ’95

What it Means to be First

PLU administrators — all the way to the president’s office — embrace and celebrate the first-generation student perspective. Learn about the journeys of these campus leaders and how they pass on their experience to current first-in-the-family Lutes.

First in the Family faculty Mary Ellard-Ivey, Kate Luther, Ann Auman and Amy Siegesmund at PLU

Faculty Proudly Wear First-Gen Experience

First-in-the-family college graduates — turned faculty members — proudly wear their experience for students to see. Learn about the path to college for a handful of professors and how those pathways inform their mentorship today.

Emily Davidson's writing class conducted in Spanish at PLU

Heritage Speakers Embrace Firsts Together

Estudiantes de español como lengua heredada celebran nuevas experiencias juntos. Read about this innovative Spanish-language course series, helping bilingual students — many of them first-generation college students — learn about Hispanic cultures and hone their dual-language skills.

Rhys Jones poses by Harstad Hall at PLU

Veteran. First-gen. Trans. Academic.

Rhys Jones ’16 sits comfortably at the intersection of many salient identities: veteran, non-traditional college student, academic, openly transgender. And he feels at home with all of them at PLU, where he enrolled as a first-generation college student at 29 years old.

Cristina Flores ’19 (left) and Sharlene Rojas Apodaca ’21 (right)

First in the Family Community

The “First in the Family” community at PLU is one of many ways the university is fostering a sense of belonging for Lutes who identify as first-generation college students. Learn more about the wings and other resources for first-gen Lutes.

First in the family logo by Hans Fleurimont

How first-gens thrive

Navigating college can be difficult for any student, but it’s particularly challenging when you or your family might not understand the ins and outs of higher education. For those learning to navigate the language and culture of college, here are five things every current and incoming first-in-the-family student should know.

Maria Chavez smiling

Pave the Way

Maria Chávez, chair of politics and government, pulls from her own first-generation experience as she addresses the opportunity gap in her work. She brought her story to an annual conference in the fall, which aimed to advance equity, expand opportunity and increase attainment.