First-Generation Students

The Student Success Center is focused on our First-Generation students through a variety of programs and workshops to support and celebrate our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Carson-Newman University defines a first- generation student as a student whose parent(s) did not complete a four- year college or university degree. Here at Carson-Newman University, approximately 45% of our students are first-generation.

Our goal is to celebrate and engage with our first-generation students and to create a supportive community that helps to provide a more positive and successful college experience.

Ongoing initiatives for our First-Generation community include:

  • Celebrating national “First Generation Day” on November 8th
  • Hosting “First Friday” workshops focused on 1G challenges while connecting students with first-generation faculty and staff presenters
  • Providing academic resources, coaching and support
  • Growing our Delta Psi chapter of Tri-Alpha, a First-Generation National Honor Society established to encourage academic excellence as well as to provide leadership, mentoring and networking opportunities


Tri-Alpha, a First-Generation National Honor Society, was officially awarded Chartership of the Delta Psi Chapter at Carson-Newman University on November 11, 2021. Our annual Induction Ceremony will be April 9, 2024. We invite our First-Generation students, faculty, and staff to consider membership. DEADLINE FOR SPRING 2024 MEMBERSHIP IS MARCH 1, 2024. To learn more about benefits and how to apply, click on the links below.

Tri-Alpha Student Invitation
Tri-Alpha Student Application
Tri-Alpha Faculty/Staff Invitation
Tri-Alpha Faculty/Staff Application

First-Generation college students are likely highly motivated and eager to excel in a college setting, but may often encounter such challenges as:

  • The pressure to excel as the first in your family to attend, and hopefully complete college
  • Difficulty relating to your peers who don’t share the experience of being a first-generation college student
  • Learning the unspoken cultural norms and expectations of university life
  • Communicating the demands and rigors of college life to your friends and family

If you are a first-generation student and have questions, please contact 1G Liaison Annemarie Spain at (865) 471-3483 or

Annemarie Spain

Academic Advisor & 1st Generation Liaison