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Holy Cross Students Inducted Into New Honor Society Chapter for First-generation Students

The Tri-Alpha inaugural ceremony was held April 19 on campus
April 22nd, 2022 by 
2022 Tri-Alpha student honorees. Photo by John Buckingham

2022 Tri-Alpha student honorees. Photo by John Buckingham

In an inaugural ceremony on April 19, Holy Cross inducted 123 students into the Alpha Alpha Alpha (Tri-Alpha) Honor Society, a national honor society recognizing the achievements of first-generation students, alumni, staff, faculty and administrators. A remarkable 223 students were eligible to be inducted into the honor society’s chapter at Holy Cross named Delta Omicron.

Founded in 2018, Tri-Alpha promotes academic excellence and provides members with a multitude of benefits, including opportunities for personal growth, leadership development, campus and community service and the opportunity to receive mentoring from more senior first-generation students, as well as faculty, staff and alumni who were first-generation students.

To qualify for induction into Tri-Alpha students must meet the following criteria:

  • The student has earned at least 30 credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree.
  • The student has achieved an overall grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Neither the student’s parents, nor step-parents, nor legal guardians, completed a bachelor’s degree.

Michele Murray, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said the College has established the Delta Omicron chapter of the Tri-Alpha Honor Society as a way to recognize high-achieving first-generation students who bring a diverse set of ideas and backgrounds to campus.

“I’m grateful to the staff of Academic Services and Learning Resources and the Office of Multicultural Education for bringing Tri-Alpha to Holy Cross,” said Murray. “Not only does membership in Tri-Alpha shine a bright light on the achievements of first-generation students, but it also affords students the opportunity to build their networks. The inaugural class of inductees is blazing a trail for others to follow.”

Holy Cross has had a long-standing commitment to promoting success and retention of first-generation students. In 2018 the College joined the American Talent Initiative to fortify its commitments and contributions to increasing the number of first-generation college students by 50,000 nationally, and recently has been designated a First-gen Forward institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation.

At the induction ceremony, which featured a keynote address from the College’s new vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion Tomicka Wagstaff, inductees received a pin with the organization’s logo: a star in the center of several circles. The circles indicate the various communities of which the inductees are a part—the Holy Cross community, the nearby geographical community and the wider world—with the stars representing individual inductees.

In addition to the student inductees, two members of the College community were inducted as honorary members: Jorge Santos, associate professor of English, and Justine Fisher, associate director of Academic Services and Learning Resources.

Also at the ceremony, it was announced that the following students will serve as chapter officers for the 2022-2023 academic year: Betelhem (Betty) Derege ’23, president; Dianne Newcomb ’24, vice president; Mary (Mia) Gajda ’24, secretary; Linsey Former ’23, treasurer; Esmeralda (Esme) Garcia ’24, historian.

Kelly Saintelus, director of Academic Services and Learning Resources, and Chris Campbell, director of the Office of Multicultural Education— who were instrumental in bringing Tri-Alpha to campus—will serve as chapter advisors going forward.

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