First-Gen Faculty & Staff

Jeff Philpott


Director of University Core Curriculum & Assistant Professor of Communication
Pronouns: They/Theirs/He/His


Junior College Certificate in Political Science, Northwest Wyoming Community College, 1978

Bachelors of Science in Communication, Lewis & Clark College, 1980

Masters of Art in Speech and Dramatic Art, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1983

Doctorate of Philosophy in Speech Communications, University of Washington, 1995


What does being first-gen mean to you?

It reminds me of my grounding -- where and from whom I came from. I see it neither as a badge of honor or something to be ashamed of.

What challenges/barriers have you faced or overcome during college?

The biggest challenge related to my first gen background was that I didn't know the systems and language. Learning about academic advisors, class schedules, graduation requirements, etc. took a while. There were a couple of moments when I was in class with fellow students of far greater means and privilege where I worried about how I would fit in, but by focusing on the work at hand, those feelings went away quickly.

What resource(s) or support helped you to be successful?

Great faculty who treated me as an individual, as opposed to part of a group. Wonderful mentors.

Do you have an inspirational quote that helped guide you through college?

Something my father drilled into me: I'm better than no one and no one is better than me. We're all in this together.

What advice would you give to someone else who is also first-gen?

Make friends, seek out mentors among faculty/staff/students, focus on the work at hand, ask questions.