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1st : Prominent First-Generation Students: Now on display in Sawyer Lobby

In commemoration of First-Generation College Celebration Day this display features books by and about prominent figures who also identify as first-generation students. Located in the atrium of Sawyer Library.

Prominent First-Generation Students

 

 

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Albert Einstein

Profession:   Physicist

Known for:   The Theory of Relativity, recipient of the1922 Nobel Prize for Theoretical Physics

Education:   Teaching Degree from ETH University in Zurich, Switzerland

Family:         Einstein’s father, who ran an electrical company with his brother, did not attend college.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Profession:   U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1993-Present)

Known for:   Second female justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, fierce advocate for gender equality

Education:   B.A. from Cornell, Law degree from Harvard

Family:         Ginsburg’s mother didn’t have the opportunity to attend college. Instead, she worked to help pay for her brother’s college education.

Oprah Winfrey

Professions: Talk show host, television network owner, actress, producer, and philanthropist.

Known for:   Being the world’s only black billionaire (as of 2006), among many other accolades

Education:   Bachelor’s from Tennessee State University

Family:         Oprah’s mother, a housemaid, was an unmarried teenager when Oprah was born

Barney Frank

Profession:   Former U.S. Congressman (1981-2013)

Known for:   First openly gay member of Congress

Education:   Undergraduate and Law degrees from Harvard

Family:         Frank’s father ran a truck stop in Jersey City

Viet Thanh Nguyen

Profession:   Novelist and Academic

Known for:   2016 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction for The Sympathizer

Education:   B.A. and Ph.D in English from UC Berkeley

Family:         Nguyen’s family came to the U.S. as refugees in the 1970’s, eventually settling in San Jose, CA where his parents ran one of the city’s first Vietnamese grocery stores

John Lewis

Profession:   U.S. Congressman (1987-Present)

Known for:   Civil rights leadership; founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Education:   B.A. from Fisk University in Nashville, TN

Family:         Lewis’ parents were sharecroppers

Thurgood Marshall

Profession:   U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1967-1991)

Known for:   First African-American justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court; Civil rights icon who fought segregation laws and won Brown v. Board of  Education

Education:   B.A. from Lincoln University, Law degree from Howard University

Family:         Marshall’s father worked as a railroad porter

Sonia Sotomayor

Profession:   U.S. Supreme Court Justice (2009-Present)

Known for:   Third female and first Hispanic justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court

Education:   Bachelor’s from Princeton, Law degree from Yale Law

Family:         Sotomayor’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Puerto Rico where they lived in a housing project in the Bronx

Elizabeth Warren

Profession:   Massachusetts Senator

Known for:   Passionate consumer advocacy

Education:   Bachelor’s from University of Houston, Law degrees from Rutgers

Family:         Warren’s mother worked in the catalog department at Sears, and her father was a maintenance man.

Michelle Obama

Profession:   Lawyer and Writer

Known for:   First African-American First Lady

Education:   Bachelor’s from Princeton, Law degree from Harvard Law School

Family:         Michelle Obama grew up in Chicago where her father worked for the water department and her mother was a homemaker

Colin Powell

Profession:   Former Secretary of State, National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and four-star General

Known for:   First African-American Secretary of State and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Education:   B.A. City College of New York, MBA from George Washington University

Family:         Powell’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica. His father was a shipping clerk and his mother was a seamstress

 

 

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