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Rockford University’s Regents First Summer 2023 Retreat Helps First-Generation College Students Succeed

07/18/2023 10:24 am

ROCKFORD, Ill. (July 13, 2023) – Rockford University, the region’s leading private four-year educational institution, will welcome a group of incoming freshmen students this Sunday, July 16, for the Rockford University’s Regents First Summer 2023 Retreat.

The retreat runs from Sunday, July 16 to Friday, July 21. The event kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday. Incoming freshmen students will arrive and check in on campus at the Burpee Student Center at 5050 E State St. in Rockford.

Check-in will be followed by a welcome session and introductions from the Rockford University Dean of Academic Support, Dr. Karen Walker, Dean of Academic Support, Center for Learning Strategies, and other RU staff members.

“It’s a residential camp and students will live on campus,” Dr. Walker said about the program. “The purpose is to saturate them in the college experience and equip them for a successful launch into their college journey.”

Walker adds that throughout the week the retreat will cover many topics including time-management for successful college students; effective communication strategies for successful college students; finding a job on campus; developing a growth mindset; and much more.

The Regents First program aims to recruit, support, and retain first-generation college students. 

The Regents First program takes what can be a challenging experience for anyone – enrolling in a four-year university – and boosts support for students who are working to become the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. 

Individuals are paired with a peer mentor during the retreat – someone who also is a first-generation college student who can be a motivating force and help build resilience during the retreat and continuing into the first year of school. The mentors will provide weekly check-ins and study group sessions to the students.

“The mentees (incoming freshmen attending the retreat) will be able to learn about navigating through college, time management skills,” said Mya Barrett, Regents First Mentor and incoming sophomore studying education at RU. “All the good nitty-gritty stuff that you need to be able to be a good, successful college student.”

The students are also paired with a designated financial aid coach, as well as a college life skills coach who will meet with them regularly throughout the academic year. Regents First participants receive a stipend to support the purchase of course materials both semesters of their first year.

While the program is designed to ensure and increase student retention for first-generation college students at Rockford University, the ultimate goal is college completion.   



Sara Myers

RU Marketing & Communications



Rockford University is a private four-year, co-educational institution founded in 1847 offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in traditional liberal arts and professional fields. The University offers more than 80 majors, minors, and concentrations, including the bachelor’s degree completion program for a B.S. in Management Studies. 

Through its Graduate Studies department, degrees are extended to include the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and Master of Education in Urban Education, (M.Ed.). Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and is a U.S. News & World Report Best Midwest Regional University, Rockford University currently serves approximately 1,250 full-and part-time students.

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