BFirst celebrates first-generation graduates
Binghamton’s BFirst Mentoring Network held its second annual First-Generation Graduation Celebration and Cording Ceremony in The Union’s Mandela Room Thursday, May 11. BFirst is a support and mentoring network connecting first-generation students with first-generation faculty, staff and alumni who volunteer their time and efforts to help apprise and empower students on their way to earning a degree.
Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger provided opening remarks, followed by BFirst committee member and EOP fourth-year student Antinea Sanchez. Other ceremony speakers included Chancellor and President’s Award winner and TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) graduating senior Patrick Saint Ange; TRIO SSS alum Melissa Liu ’21; and Fleishman Center senior career consultant and first-generation graduate Jordan Smith ’11.
This year, over 250 students, including undergraduates, master’s degree recipients and doctoral candidates, received the maroon and gold cords. Marissa Zelman, associate director of TRIO SSS and co-founder and chair of the BFirst committee, explained the significance of the cord colors. “Maroon symbolizes courage, willpower and strength; gold symbolizes prosperity, love, compassion and wisdom. But our cords use double strands of maroon to symbolize the exceptional courage and strength exhibited by our first-gen students.”