William Paterson University Becomes First in NJ to Launch Chapter of New Honor Society for First-Generation College Students


William Paterson University became the first institution in New Jersey to establish a chapter of Alpha, Alpha, Alpha or Tri-Alpha, the national honor society that recognizes the accomplishments of first-generation college students and 16 students were recently inducted into the chapter, known as Alpha Mu, during a virtual ceremony.

Tri-Alpha is dedicated to promoting academic excellence and creating a supportive environment for first-generation college students. Faculty and staff also will be invited to join. More than 45 percent of William Paterson’s undergraduate students were first-generation students in fall 2020.

“Tri-Alpha is a wonderful vehicle for connecting first-generation students at William Paterson,” says Ian Marshall, interim associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Science and professor of English. “Students will benefit by having the guidance and support they need to become the first in their family to earn a degree. Many of our faculty and staff members, including some who are alumni, were also first-generation students. Having this common experience will help us create mentorship, career, and academic opportunities across all disciplines and departments.”

“The establishment of this honor society is a testament to the commitment of the University for promoting the success of first-generation students,” says Jonnine DeLoatch, director of the Office of Student Transitions and advisor for the group. “Our students are enthusiastic about being a part of a group that connects them with other first-generation students and having the tools they need to succeed.”

DeLoatch says the group will offer leadership opportunities, a community service component and workshops and speakers to enhance personal and professional development.

To be inducted, students must have at least 30 credits toward a bachelor’s degree and a GPA of at least 3.2. To be considered first-generation, neither of the student’s parents, stepparents, or legal guardians have completed a bachelor’s degree.

For more information about William Paterson’s chapter, Alpha Mu, email Jonnine DeLoatch at DeLoatchJ@wpunj.edu.

01/12/21