WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota imagines a world where every student is given the opportunity to reach their full potential, a world where every student with a desire to attend college has the opportunity to do so.

Saint Mary’s wants scholars to be able to SOAR.

Attendees of the annual Saint Mary’s S.O.A.R. (Support, Opportunity, Accountability, and Responsibility) Breakfast Wednesday, May 11, will hear examples of success stories from the university’s First Generation Initiative (FGI).

Jessican Salas Rivera (a current first-year student and Cristo Rey, Minneapolis, alumna) and Daniela Martinez (a 2014 FGI graduate) will speak about what the scholarship and support has meant to them.

Saint Mary’s First Generation Initiative is making the dream of a college education possible to high-potential students from urban, under-resourced communities. The initiative was created to break down barriers to higher education by providing not only financial support, but also academic support. Saint Mary’s knows that it isn’t just about getting these students into school. It’s about helping them succeed.

That’s why the FGI program provides enhanced student services (tutoring, literacy classes, advising, evening study hours, mentoring, and cultural and social activities) and faculty collaboration.

Many of these students, after graduation, want to return to their hometowns to work and give back, helping to strengthen their communities.

Guests are welcome to attend the event, to be held from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. (with a 7 a.m. registration) at Saint Mary’s University Center, 2540 Park Ave., Minneapolis. Register online here by May 4.

For more information about this event or how to support this initiative, please contact Joe Kolar, development director, at 612-728-5192 or

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