Colorado State University Scholarship Program Celebrates Success of First Generation Students

Note to Editors: The 1999-2000 First Generation Award Recognition Dinner Feb. 7 will honor 251 award recipients and their families. This special evening, which begins at 5:15 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom, celebrates the academic and personal achievements of first generation students and demonstrates the commitment of Colorado State to encourage students from all backgrounds to complete their education. President Yates will address scholars and guests and Lieutenant Governor Joe Rogers will be recognized as the First Generation Honor Alumnus. Interviews with award recipients are available by calling June Greist at (970) 491-1194.

As a teenager who hated high school, Judy Anne Baffico never dreamed she would some day go to college. Today, Baffico and her daughter are both nearing graduation as First-Generation Scholars at Colorado State University.

With her daughter’s encouragement and with the help of the First Generation Scholarship Program, Baffico took a leap of faith when she left her job of 18 years to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems. Baffico will speak as one of the distinguished award recipients at the First Generation Award Recognition Dinner Feb.7 at Colorado State.

"The First Generation Award program provides opportunities to educational pioneers who are among the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree," said Barb Musslewhite, award program coordinator. "This is truly an incredible group of students who get involved on campus and in the community. They contribute through their leadership, perspectives and academic performance."

I. Foster Bindley also will be honored as a distinguished award recipient Feb. 7. Bindley, an Eagle Valley High School graduate from Gypsum, Colo., transferred to Colorado State from Fort Lewis College. He maintains a 4.0 grade point average and plans to graduate in December.

"Being able to show my cousins that they are not trapped by life in a small town is the greatest accomplishment I have had to date," Bindley said. He credits his mother and her strong work ethic for instilling in him the strength to succeed.

Musslewhite said that Bindley, Baffico and her daughter, Aurora Lopez, demonstrate how award recipients aren’t the only ones to benefit from the program. Recipients act as role models and family members often follow the example of their first generation children or siblings.

Distinguished First-Generation Scholar honors will be conferred on Baffico, Bindley, Camille Lenore Fleischli, Aliya Larissa Gasca and Hillary Ann Jones.

Colorado State created the First Generation Award Program 16 years ago to provide higher-education opportunities for students who are the first generation of their families to attend college. Since 1984, the program has awarded $8.4 million to nearly 1,300 people. The award recipient group has been composed of students from all ethnic backgrounds, and has included students with disabilities and non-traditional age students.

"This award recognizes that family income and parents’ educational achievement play a role in an individual’s chances for reaching college and completing a degree," Musslewhite said. "Research shows that children of parents who have not completed a bachelor’s degree are far less likely to enter or complete college. Given these statistics, it is especially important for the university to assist first-generation students."

The First Generation Award Program provides scholarships to Colorado residents who are the first generation of their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must be newly admitted to Colorado State in a degree program and must demonstrate financial need. Applications are due April 3, and awards will be announced in early summer for the 2000-2001 school year.

For more information on the First Generation Award Program or to obtain an application, call the Office of Student Financial Services at (970) 491-6321.