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.  The first Induction Ceremony will be March 24, 2022.  We invite our First-Generation students, faculty, and staff to consider membership.  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