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Scholarship Winner Relishing BC Experience

"College was always the goal." - Xavier Husser '18 (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)

By Kathleen Sullivan | Chronicle Staff

Published: Oct. 16, 2014

Freshman Xavier Husser has relished his first weeks at Boston College: a bustling campus, challenging classes and a full calendar of events and activities, including an exciting football game.

But Husser has a special reason to take delight in being a college student, because he is the first one in his family.

Husser is a recipient of a 2014 I’m First Scholarship, presented to first-generation college students by the non-profit Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) – one of only 10 scholarship winners selected from more than 1,600 applications nationwide.

An estimated 24 percent of students enrolled in postsecondary institutions today are low-income, first-generation college students. As a group, they face hardships in achieving a college diploma. According to CSO, first-generation students drop out of college at four times the rate of their peers whose parents have a postsecondary education. Nine out of every 10 will not earn a bachelor’s degree six years out from high school.

Husser plans to beat those odds. Raised by his father, Leonard, in a single-parent household in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, Husser attended Cristo Rey New York High School where he participated in musical improvisation and choir and served as a tutor and student ambassador. He held a work-study job all four years at DGA Security Systems, Inc., New York City’s largest security company.
“College was always the goal,” said Husser.

He visited the BC campus as a high school junior and found the “amazing campus” and the “rigorous academic program” attractive.
Husser has quickly embraced life at the Heights, becoming a co-student advocate for the Clavier-Loyola-Fenwick-Xavier residence hall on Upper Campus and joining the writing staff of the Gavel and the Screaming Eagles Marching Band, among other groups.

As a member of the band, he’s marched in the Allston-Brighton community parade, performed at Pops on the Heights and been on the field for every home football game so far this season – including a rather memorable one last month against USC.

“That game will live in glory for the rest of my time at BC and years after,” said Husser of the game, which saw the Eagles score a 37-31 upset of the highly ranked Trojans.

An English major, Husser loves Shakespeare as well as contemporary writers like Dan Brown. He aspires to be a novelist.

Husser and other I’m First Scholarship recipients blog about their college experience and offer advice to aspiring first-generation college students. In Husser’s first blog post, he wrote about the importance of being involved in campus activities and how it can make a difference in the college experience.

“Clubs definitely make a difference because you get to join a community of people from all walks of life,” wrote Husser. “Even if you’re feeling down about one of your classes or annoying roommates, you always have something to look forward to. Even though the semester just started, I’m having an amazing college experience and can’t wait for the real fun to begin.”

“Xavier is a shining example of how to turn college dreams into reality,” said Matt Rubinoff, CSO’s executive director. “His achievements and blog posts will motivate thousands of aspiring first-generation college students and help them understand that the opportunity for college is within reach.”