First-Generation College Students Recognized for “Realizing the Dream”

Lots of us have dreams, but far fewer of us make significant progress towards making them come true.  And that’s exactly what 31 students from Indiana’s independent colleges and universities are being celebrated for this Saturday evening, November 10, at the 23rd annual “Realizing the Dream” banquet.

Now sophomores, they have realized the dream of being the first in their families to go to college, have been selected by their colleges for outstanding achievement in the freshman year, and are now advancing towards successfully completing their bachelor’s degrees. Grace College sophomore Sarah E. Doty from Winamac was selected for the award, and she chose Marilyn Krohn Newman from Winamac Community Middle School as her most influential teacher.

Made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, the event recognizes first-generation students attending ICI campuses, along with their inspirational teachers and families.  The event is being held at the Hilton Indianapolis North, with a reception at 6:15 p.m. and an awards dinner at 7:00 p.m.

Each honored student will receive a $2,000 check to help with college costs, and each student’s chosen “most influential” teacher will receive $1,000.  This year’s keynote speaker is Alan Hill, vice president for enrollment and marketing at Franklin College.  A first generation college student himself, Hill is a DePauw University alumnus and has held various administrative positions there, as well as at Alma College in Michigan.

One out of every three students on ICI campuses is a first-generation one. Generous financial aid provided by the campuses themselves, combined with state and federal grants, makes a private college education a possibility for all students in Indiana.

“We are so grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for making this inspirational program possible,” says Richard L. Ludwick, ICI president & CEO.  “We are proud, too, that because of the higher graduation rates of our ICI colleges and universities, these students are twice as likely to realize the dream of completing their degrees in four years.”

Independent Colleges of Indiana is a membership association of the state’s 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universitiesICI member institutions enroll some 90,000 students (approximately 20 percent of all students statewide) and annually produce 35 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana. Information about ICI is available at

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