Somerton’s Cecilia Fernandes recently became the 12th member of her family to graduate from La Salle University.
Fernandes earned a degree in accounting. Her parents, Joseph and Rita, are among the La Salle graduates in her family.
“La Salle truly is a special place,” she said.
Fernandes said members of her family had received scholarships from other colleges, but they chose to attend La Salle because of the education their relatives received.
“I think my other family members were happy when they found out that I decided to attend La Salle,” she said. “College is a big part of someone’s life, so I think they felt like I would receive a great education at La Salle, as well as having a great college experience. My dad was very happy when I decided to go to La Salle.”
Fernandes, who participated on a weeklong Habitat for Humanity service trip to Birmingham, Alabama following graduation, will start working in August as a tax associate for Drucker & Scaccetti in Center City.
“I knew when I was looking at colleges that I wanted to be an accounting major, so I was immediately impressed with all the La Salle School of Business had to offer, but I would say the main reason I chose La Salle was because of the sense of belonging I felt when I visited campus,” she said.
“The first time I stepped on campus I was struck by its beauty, its peacefulness and its friendliness. Everyone I came in contact with that day made me feel like I belonged in the La Salle community. I never got this feeling at any other school I visited, so I knew La Salle was the school for me. For the past three years, I was able to share my La Salle experience with prospective students by working as a student tour guide in the undergraduate admissions office.”
Fernandes’ roots at La Salle stretch back to 1955, when her great-uncle John Saponara Sr. graduated with a degree in education. His son John Jr. graduated in 1983 and was a Fulbright Scholar.
Another family member who graduated from La Salle is Sister Mary Saponara, MSC, a Missionary Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, who has been in a ministry in Mexico City at a poor parish for almost 22 years. Sister Mary received a joint master’s of theology from La Salle and the Lutheran Seminary of Philadelphia. She is Cecilia Fernandes’ godmother and aunt.
ldquo;I am so proud of Cecilia and so happy that she is the 12th in our family to graduate from La Salle,” said Sister Mary. “Her degree has given her a unique opportunity to integrate religion and life and a wonderful professional education she has earned at this fine university.”
Other La Salle graduates over the years have been Cecilia’s cousin John Manzo, aunts Joanne Saponara Tyer and Jeannie Galassi Saponara, and uncles Paul Tyer, Michael Saponara and Nicholas Saponara. ••