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New Tri-Alpha chapter honors first-generation Terriers

Tatum Mogck
Anneka Brannon ‘26 was inducted into Tri-Alpha. Tri-Alpha is a way for all first generation college students to have a community and feel supported by peers and staff.

Alpha Alpha Alpha has come to Wofford to aid first-generation students in making meaningful connections while promoting leadership and academic success.

The honor society was chartered at Wofford this past summer, with its first induction ceremony being held on Nov. 8 to honor its first class of students.

Mauri Anna Richardson ‘25 is a first generation student and new inductee into the Theta Omicron chapter of Tri-Alpha who wanted to be a part of the honor society because of the network it would provide her with.

“I wanted to be a member to have the ability to connect to and network with other first-generation students,” Richardson said. “The chartering of this organization means that first-generation students will have a life-long connection not only to those at Wofford, but also to those outside of Wofford as we travel through life.”

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Tri Alpha was founded in 2018 at Moravian University in Bethlehem, Pa., with more than 200 colleges and universities in America chartering a chapter.

Wofford joined this list over the summer with the hopes to reach more first generation students.

James Stukes, assistant dean of student success and college access, serves as a co-advisor alongside Boyce Lawton, dean for student success.

Their purpose within the chapter is to be a resource for the members to utilize and guide the honor society in the right direction.

“Since its founding in 2018, Tri-Alpha has become a meaningful and recognizable organization for college campuses that seek to serve first-gen students,” Stukes said. “Wofford has provided direct support for first-gen students for years, so establishing a chapter was the logical next step.”

Stukes believes that bringing this national honor society to Wofford will be of great benefit to the first generation community on campus.

“Tri-Alpha recognizes the academic achievements and journey of first-gen students while promoting leadership and providing overall support,” Stukes said. “The chartering provides more visibility for the accomplishments and impact that first-gen students bring to the campus community.”

“I would like to add that this is not another sorority or fraternity,” Richardson said. “The Tri-Alpha charter is instead a national honors society that connects first-generation students, centering us around each other and allowing a community of students to have a lifelong connection.”

Since nearly 15% of Wofford’s campus is first generation students, having a chapter dedicated to the support and success of these individuals is a sentiment expressed by many. Stukes feels it is his honor to work with this first inaugural class and the many after it.

“First-generation college students comprise 56% of all undergraduate students nationally, and represent 14% of Wofford’s student population,” Stukes said. “As a first-generation college graduate, it is truly an honor to work with this student group.”

If you’re interested in joining the Theta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha, keep the requirements in mind and look out for the application.

“Tri-Alpha is open to all first-gen students who have a minimum cumulative gpa of 3.2 and have earned a minimum 30 credit hours. Recruitment will occur each year and the Wofford chapter plans to induct first-gen faculty, staff, and alumni in the future,” Stukes said. “The inaugural class included 26 students. All inductees receive a Tri-Alpha pin, certificate of lifetime membership, and a honor society chord that will be distributed during commencement weekend for seniors.”

“The application process included submitting your GPA and some personal accomplishments, but most of all, simply being a first-generation student,” Richardson said. 

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Madison Tolomea
Madison Tolomea, Staff Writer
Humanities Major from Charleston, SC
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