By some estimates, first-generation college students make up 30% of entering freshman classes. This sector of the population, being the first in their families to attend university, typically encounters significant financial constraints. In fact, economic challenges often dictate where a first-generation college student ultimately studies, shaping their lives in countless ways.
Yale SOM alumna Lise Pfeiffer Chapman, while not a first-generation college student, also faced economic hardships at that critical life juncture. For this reason, she credits a generous student loan from the Hattie M. Strong Foundation for allowing her to attend Stanford University and later the SOM.
Now, to pay it forward, Chapman has endowed a new scholarship at Yale School of Management aimed at helping first-generation college students finance their own Yale SOM education. This is the first scholarship of its kind at the SOM.
“This is something that I need to do,” says Chapman, a former chair of the Association of Yale Alumni Board of Governors. “I want to make a positive impact for first-generation and low-income students, and do it in a permanent, ongoing way.”
“I could not have attended Stanford, and consequently Yale, without the help of others. Being grateful, I have continued to give back throughout my life,” Chapman adds.
Connecting First-Generation College Students with Yale Alumni
Chapman’s scholarship endowment relates closely to the 1stGenYale initiative she helped launch in 2016. “I saw the need to connect alumni as an important resource for students who share being first-generation to college or graduate school and from low-income backgrounds,” she explains.
Since its founding, 1stGenYale has connected more than 1,000 alumni and students focused on building life and career strategies. Chapman and a team of 15 Yale alumni developed and organized the inaugural “1stGenYale Alumni Conference – Blazing the Trail: Being the First” last April, which connected many 1stGen alumni for the first time.
In November, Chapman will be awarded the Yale Medal, in recognition of her service to the greater Yale community.
“I want to help students feel that they all belong as members of the Yale family,” Chapman says. “I hope this new scholarship encourages SOM and other Yale alumni to make a difference in their own way.”
Learn more about Lise Chapman’s enduring relationship with her alma mater, and reasons for giving back, here.