Monday, November 5, 2018

We’re Glad You’re Here!


On Thursday, November 8, UNM-Gallup will celebrate First Generation Day to honor our students who are the first in their families to attend college.  Join us in the Gurley Hall Commons area from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. for cake, shared stories and a celebration for all students.  We have been accepting stories from students, faculty and staff who are first generation college students and will be sharing these throughout the next week.  Please find below the story submitted by our Dean of Instruction, Dr. Daniel Primozic.  Dr. Primozic’s experiences are inspirational, encouraging and offer support for all college students.  Please continue sending your first generation stories to mpetrano@unm.edu – we are trying to collect enough essays to publish a small booklet.

“I was first in my immediate family to attend and succeed in college. I was first to secure a Master's degree and the only one to be awarded a Ph. D. . I was born to a humble but solidly good, brave, hard-working father (who was a medic on Omaha Beach and then became a dental technician for a VA hospital after the war) and to a mother who was his "German war bride." We  were not wealthy but lived in working class neighborhoods on the south and the west sides of Chicago and then moved to Cicero, a near west suburb. It was there at Morton Junior College that I began my journey in higher education.

As a child I learned the English language alongside my mother, whose native tongue was German. She, despite her elementary German education, studied hard to become an American citizen. My father was a high school graduate who always wanted the learning to be gained in college but had to secure gainful employment to provide for his small family. Yet, he was self-educated in literature, philosophy, art, world cultures, and the contemporary issues of his day.  Their examples of hard work, persistence, and a deep value for knowledge, education, citizenship, and service inspired me to walk the unfamiliar trails of college and to try to improve the lot of human beings in my own small way.

My travels down those trails were anything but easy. But I had my fine models to remember and found others who provided guidance and light on the way.  After many years of study I was awarded my doctoral degree in philosophy from the University of New Mexico which prepared me well for my for my career as a professor and administrator. 

Finally, I am here at UNM - Gallup to help improve the lot of human beings, provide them with the treasures of education, and to model a dedication to the pursuit of good and wise living and the joys that can accompany it. My advice to other "firsters" is to work hard, learn much, persist, succeed, and see to it that you light the way for others on the oftentimes unfamiliar trail.” – Dr. Daniel Primozic

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