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Assistant Professor Wayne Schmadeka


First-Generation Students

With Heartfelt Thanks to My Parents

Jean DeWitt, Associate Professor
College of Humanities & Social Sciences

        Forty-five years ago, Class of January 1965. Each year I receive a newsletter from William Howard Taft, H.S. in Chicago. I have been fascinated by what Taft graduates have accomplished. How many went to college? Who stayed in Chicago? What careers did they choose?

        The majority of my classmates ended their formal education with a H.S. diploma; some dropped out. Robert, my older brother set the standard when he enrolled and graduated from college. My parents did not have the luxury of attending a university, although my father took correspondence courses and went to night school.

        Knowing the financial burden of a college degree, I worked almost 20 hours a week when I was 15 and continued through college. My heartfelt thanks to my parents (my mom is 101!) who put education first for their two children before their own individual dreams.

        The ability to learn new things, like languages or history or music, is an innate gift we all have been given. A first generation college student –this distinction makes me smile—and I applaud all students who work diligently to meet the goals they set for themselves, their families, and their children.


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Last updated or reviewed on 9/30/14

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