• The Experiences of Working-Class College Students Who Became University Presidents

      Springer, Mary E.
      Working-class students enter college lacking necessary capital to predict their academic and personal success making college success less likely than for middle class students (Bufton, 2003; Mack, 2006; Paulsen & St. John, 2002; Rose, 1997; Wegner, 1973). This same social class origin helps to define experiences, provides context for understanding these experiences, and ultimately can be a strong motivation to succeed. With the help of personal and professional mentors, strong working-class family values, and an innate drive to succeed, the university presidents in this study have survived in a culture in which they did not have the necessary capital to naturally be academically, personally, and professionally successful. With a strong proportion of today’s first-time college students enrolling directly from high school, almost 55% nationally, and almost 40% nationally coming from working-class backgrounds, the university presidents in this study have provided a strong insight into the experiences and culture of working-class college students and those who become university presidents (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2008).