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Kessler Presidential Scholars Program

Kessler Scholars gather outside of Toni Morrison Hall at coin presentation event with Fred Wilpon

The Kessler Presidential Scholars Program supports a diverse community of first-generation college students at Cornell University. 

"Having a support group where we all have this in common has been truly enriching to my experience as a college student, as I’m a lot more in touch with my own identity, and I understand the power of my own identity." 

- Alejandra Gonzalez '23

The Kessler Presidential Scholars Program at Cornell University provides four years of support to exceptional Cornell students—who are among the first in their family to attend college—helping them achieve their dreams through academic, financial, and social support. The Kessler Scholars are a close-knit community. Alongside Kessler professional staff committed to their success, Cornell Kessler Scholars discover how to be their best and explore how their Cornell degree empowers them to shape the future.  

A National Network

The Kessler Scholars Program (McGuire Scholars Program) at Cornell University is part of the national Kessler Scholars Collaborative. Together, these schools are rethinking how to support first-generation college students as they navigate higher education. Students who join the Kessler Scholars Program are part of a powerful network of first-generation leaders, connected across multiple institutions throughout their undergraduate college experience and beyond. 

In spring 2022, we gained 10 new campus partners in the Kessler Scholars Collaborative, a diverse group of Ivy League, liberal arts, and public flagship institutions in the American Talent Initiative. Now a network of 16 institutions, we will work together over the next five years to solidify a blueprint for first-generation student success that can work at campuses nationwide.