Fall student

During the 2018-2019 academic year, Graduation Generation served 4,120 students.

by Adrienne S. Harris, Contributing Writer, Campus Life

Ed. note: This sidebar story and the associated feature story were developed by Campus Life and published as one story earlier this month by Emory's Dooley Report.

When Daniel Hamm, a junior international studies major, was a student at Maynard Jackson High School, he knew he was going to college, but hadn’t put Emory on his list of top choices.

Then, Hamm learned about Graduation Generation, a program of Campus Life’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement that works to decrease dropout rates for public elementary, middle, and high school students in metropolitan Atlanta.

Daniel Hamm
Daniel Hamm. Photo by Tina Chang.

Hamm participated in Graduation Generation’s SAT/ACT prep class and did research for his International Baccalaureate program essay at Woodruff Library. A high school teacher told Hamm he would be a good candidate for Emory’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship. He applied, was accepted, and now volunteers with Graduation Generation to help students at his high school alma mater.

“Grad Gen is a bridge to the next step – whether that’s college, trade school, a job, or the military,” said Hamm. “I want to inspire other students to see there are options available beyond high school. There can be more to life than what society tells them they are.”

Graduation Generation was founded in 2010 with a $1 million donation from alumnus and trustee Rick Rieder 83B, managing director of BlackRock Inc. Since then, the program has matched Emory students, faculty and staff with Atlanta area K-12 schools and community organizations to collaborate on empowering students to remain in school, graduate, and achieve in life.

“The objective is for students to graduate from high school, on time, with college or career plans in place,” said Barbara S. Coble, education partnerships manager for Graduation Generation.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, Graduation Generation served 4,120 students at five elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools. Nearly 180 Emory students and 50 faculty and staff worked with three dozen community partners to deliver a variety of educational programming, including a STEAM club, SAT/ACT prep class, reading tutoring, Model UN, and robotics labs.

Eight Graduation Generation students – five from Maynard Jackson High School and three from Cross Keys High School – were accepted to Emory's class of 2023. All except two are enrolled at the university.

For more information on Graduation Generation, visit: