First Generation Cohort: Paving a Liberal Pursuit
New Constantin Scholars Complete Bridge to First Fall Semester at UD
Date published: Aug. 27, 2020
“What kind of story have you fallen into?” asked President Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83, as he welcomed the university’s first 12-member freshman cohort
at the inaugural First Generation Scholars Program luncheon reception last Thursday.
“I fell into a story at the University of Dallas 40 years ago to this day,” he went
on. “My mom used to say that she kept praying I would graduate from high school,”
said Hibbs, a first-generation college graduate himself, who admitted he wasn’t the
best student. After graduating high school, Hibbs headed to Holy Trinity Seminary
and the University of Dallas, where he received his B.A. in English. Some years later
while he was pursuing his Ph.D., his mother then inquired: “'Are you ever going to
get out of college?” “Eventually,” Hibbs told her.
Behind the curtain of last fall’s inauguration — and the announcement of the President Thomas S. Hibbs and Dr. Stacey Hibbs First Generation
Scholarship — a much larger, university-wide effort was also underway.
Under the charge of then-Interim Dean Sally Hicks, Ph.D., with Director of Academic Success and the Seven Arts of Language Matthew Spring, PhD ’15, serving as co-author, the Constantin Foundation awarded a $750,000 grant
over the next three years to support scholarships to first-generation students from
Texas. The grant additionally provided funding to launch the Constantin Scholars Bridge
Program, which accepted its first cohort of DFW-area UD freshmen this past summer
with the first virtual class held on July 13.
“We are grateful to the Constantin Foundation for their generous support of this initiative,”
said Spring. “The scholarship funding they have provided will ensure that these students
complete their degrees without falling into debt, and, according to the Constantin
Scholars’ own testimony, the Bridge program left them feeling confident, stress-free
and eager to continue their education at the University of Dallas. They are already
establishing themselves as student-leaders on campus, and we are eager to learn of
all they do for their own communities in the future.”
At the helm of UD’s first-generation programming initiative is Dr. Spring, Academic
Success Adviser Daniel Adams, M.S.Ed., Vice President of Enrollment Lizzie Griffin
Smith, BA ’09 MBA ’13, and Director of Financial Aid Taryn Anderson, BA '07. The initiative
was supported in sundry ways by the university’s acclaimed undergraduate faculty in
the Constantin College of Liberal Arts, by undergraduate peer mentors Annette Kaehler
and Kien Tran, and by staff from nearly every department on campus. The Bridge class
itself — The Seven Arts of Language — was especially successful because of the support
offered by Professor James DeMasi, Dr. Augusta Hardy, MA '15, and the undergraduate
Learn More About UD's Constantin Scholars Program.