UC Hastings Kicks Off First Generation Program

First Generation Students
Students in UC Hastings First Gen program celebrate the program’s kickoff in February.

UC Hastings kicked off its First Generation Program – which celebrates and supports law students who are the first in their families to go to college and now attend law school.

Chancellor and Dean David Faigman said the program supports the college’s values of inclusion and said the law school is dedicated, “To be a community of support and a community of inspiration.”

The kickoff event was held in February and programs are continuing throughout the school year.

Mario Ernesto Lopez ‘15, UC Hastings’ Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives, who oversees the First Generation Program, said more and more incoming students are the first in their family to attend college. The program seeks to address, bolster, and celebrate the First Gen journey to law school and beyond, he said, by providing support, based in part, on what students and alumni expressed to the school as their needs through listening sessions conducted on campus.

Provost and Academic Dean Morris Rather said at the kickoff that students told administrators they wanted the opportunity to build a community, network with alumni, and enhance their professional skills. Among the programs taking place this spring for students, are a series of workshops that tackle various topics-including engaging with faculty, finding summer jobs, getting involved in law journals, managing loan repayment and others.

Dean of Students Grace Hum told the first generation students, “Everything that you bring makes our professional more robust and shines a light on things we didn’t see before.” Student Manpreet Bhandal said, “UC Hastings taught me being a first-generation student is an asset not a liability.”

The keynote speaker for the kickoff was Adelmise R. Warner ’01, the Senior Director of Global Employee Relations at Apple, who congratulated the students on their “admission to one of the most amazing law schools in the nation.” As an immigrant and first generation college student, Warner recalled attending faculty office hours, taking part in Moot Court, a clinic, and a journal, all of which helped her succeed at law school.

“The faculty, the staff want you to succeed,” she told the students. “The opportunities are there. Take advantage of them.” She told them to pursue the area of law that they feel passionate about and to be dedicated in their pursuit of their goals, “Your success is the success of UC Hastings. Your success means all of us are lifted up.”

To learn more about UC Hastings First Generation program contact Director Lopez at: lopezmario@uchastings.edu