TRIO art exhibit to celebrate first-generation SMCC students, faculty and staff

TRIO Student Support Services will host an art exhibit to celebrate the success of first-generation students, faculty and staff at Southern Maine Community College.

As part of the National First-Generation College Celebration, SMCC’s TRIO office is asking students and employees who identify as first-generation college students — or who are supporters of first-generation students — to submit pieces of art that will be put on display in the Learning Commons.

People are encouraged to submit drawings, photographs, paintings, sculptures, 3-D artwork or anything else that inspires them. Submissions should be made by Nov. 3 and include your name, email address and a few words about what being a first-generation student or supporter means to you. Make your submissions in person to the TRIO SSS Office, located in the Campus Center, or digitally by email to

Everyone who submits artwork will be entered into a prize drawing for a fully stocked art supply kit. The art show will open at 4 p.m. on Nov. 8, at which time the drawing will be held. The exhibit will be up for the remainder of November.

“We are launching this art project to shine the spotlight on the many successes and contributions of our first-generation students and employees,” said Katharine Lualdi, director of SMCC’s TRIO office. “Nearly three in five students at SMCC are first-generation, and we’ve organized this event to support and motivate our students as they move forward in their college education.”

Colleges and universities across the U.S. are participating in the National First-Generation College Celebration, which was launched in 2017 and is put on by the Council for Opportunity in Education and the Center for First-generation Student Success.

Nov. 8 was selected as the date for the event in honor of the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which was designed to help level a playing field that had been weighed against Americans from minority and low-income backgrounds. In addition to creating federal grants and loan programs to help students finance their educations, the Higher Education Act ushered in the federal TRIO programs aimed at increasing college access and completion rates for first-generation students.

SMCC’s TRIO program guides eligible students to graduation through the use of individualized counseling and advising, peer mentoring, academic tutoring and other support services.