New honors society at SMU, and it’s for first-gens!

Posted By: Jennifer Hanifl On: 2022-07-01
Posted On: 2022-07-01

In the Student Success & First Generation Initiative Center (GR70), we are very excited to share with the Saint Mary’s community, that we have opened the Zeta Delta chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha, a national honors society for first-generation college students! Our first induction ceremony will take place on Sunday, October 9, 2022.

What does it mean to be a first-generation college student? It means that neither parent / guardian completed a four-year college degree.

Being involved in an honors society unlocks many purposeful doors of opportunity. These include, but are not limited to: aspiring for academic excellence, developing meaningful relationships, experiencing the value of collaboration toward a common goal, such as providing service both on campus and within the greater Winona community and making a positive difference in the lives of others, professional networking, and having a plethora of experiences to include on a resume and cover letter when applying for internships or jobs. What’s more is that there is a sense of pride when walking across the stage at commencement with honors cords.

Who’s eligible?

  • Current first-generation (undergraduate) college students, who are full-time (min. 12 credits / semester), have completed 30 credits toward their degree, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.
  • Current first-generation (graduate) students, who are part-time or full-time, have completed 9 credits toward their graduate degree, and have a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • Faculty and Staff who were first-generation college students. Faculty and staff inductees must be willing to serve as mentors for first-generation students.
  • Alumni of Saint Mary’s, who were first-generation college students. They must remain connected in some way to Saint Mary’s (e.g. a member of the board or alumni association; the sibling of a current student; a volunteer; a donor; etc.. They must have established themselves in their post-college lives in a manner that can be held up to first-generation students as something to aspire to, and must be willing to mentor first-generation students, if asked.

For more information, email

Chapter Advisors are: Dr. Jennifer Hanifl and Elena Lacey, of the Student Success and First Generation Initiative Center

Both Jennifer and Elena were first-generation college students as well, and are First Gen Proud!