Jared Lancette

First-generation students face many challenges on the path to a college degree, and Winona State University student Jared Lancette knows these challenges all too well.

Lancette, who will be the first person in his immediate family to attain a bachelor’s degree, says being a first-generation student can feel isolating and overwhelming, even from day one of the college search.

“I wasn’t able to ask my parents about their experience in college when it came to choosing classes, choosing schools, and choosing a degree,” he recalls. “I had to do those things on my own.”

The Cottage Grove, Minn., native also faced the challenge of figuring out how to pay for college and started early investigating his eligibility for scholarships at Winona State. In the end, he was awarded an academic scholarship, a music scholarship and several scholarships from the WSU Foundation.

“It was my goal to get through school debt free, and the countless scholarship opportunities (at WSU) helped me achieve that goal,” he explains. “Scholarships have made it so I never had to work while in college. I was able focus on my education 100 percent, and I’m forever grateful for that. My scholarships helped me tremendously!”

Hear more about Lancette’s personal experience with scholarships

Lancette’s academic success led him to be named WSU’s Outstanding Student in Economics his senior year. He will also graduate with minors in Statistics, Music and Jazz Studies, and during his time at WSU was involved in Jazz Club, the Economics Student Organization, the Student Band Organization, and KQAL, WSU’s campus radio station.

“This school has given me every opportunity to succeed,” says Lancette. “WSU offers a phenomenal education on top of all the extracurricular activities I’ve been a part of.”

Everything from facilities to faculty relationships contribute to student success at Winona State, he explains. On the facilities side, WSU’s Krueger Library, with its coffee shop and custom seating options, is instrumental for students in keeping up with classes and getting homework done, says Lancette. And WSU’s small class sizes allow students to really get to know their faculty members and develop close relationships.

“The class size is perfect,” says Lancette. “You have the option of having a personal experience with your professor.”

Jared Lancette playing in the WSU Honor Band.

Lancette was fortunate to identify two mentors during his time at WSU: Dr. Don Salyards, Professor of Economics, and Dr. Rich MacDonald, Professor of Music.

“My two favorite professors have been excellent role models throughout my time at Winona State,” says Lancette. “If I had any questions about anything, (they) were always there to help. I’ve learned countless life lessons from both professors that you can’t put a price on.”

After graduation, Lancette hopes to work in finance in the Twin Cities area. With a successful and meaningful college career under his belt, he is paving the way to a successful future.

“I’m proud to graduate from WSU because it’s the place where I gave it my all,” says Lancette. “WSU has taught me to how to be an independent individual. It has taught me that hard work pays off. It has taught me that you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to.”

Read more about the achievements of our recent Winona State University alumni at: https://news.winona.edu/category/commencement/

For more information on WSU Commencement, visit: https://www.winona.edu/graduation/commencement.asp

About Winona State University

Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a comprehensive, regional public university with approximately 8,000 students on campuses in Winona and Rochester. The oldest member of the Minnesota State system, WSU offers more than 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate and doctorate programs in five colleges: Business, Education, Liberal Arts, Nursing & Health Sciences, and Science & Engineering. Winona State is ranked as the second public institution in Minnesota by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges,” has been named among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review for 15 years in a row, and has been featured as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys for quality and value for 23 consecutive years. The University generates $447.9 Million in economic impact for the region per year. The University’s mission is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic vitality of the people and communities we serve: a community of learners improving our world. For more information, visit winona.edu.

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Jake Leskovar

Jake is a Public Relations Major with an Advertising Minor who has a passion for writing from Madison, Wisconsin.