Marcelina Hollender wanted to keep a secret from her parents on the day of La Salle University’s undergraduate commencement exercise.
“I thought it would be fun if they found out the day of graduation, the very moment I would walk up to the podium to give the speech, that they’d realize I was the one giving it. However, I decided it was probably best to tell them beforehand. They were thrilled when I gave them the good news on my birthday, April 15, tax day – which is very appropriate being that I’m an accounting major!”
Hollender is completing the four-year BS/MBA program at La Salle: she has finished the bachelor’s portion of her program and will complete her MBA this summer. Then she will work for two years for the Disney Company in a two-year Accounting Rotation Program.
Any undergraduate student can apply to deliver the commencement address. Submissions are rated by a committee, and finalists are chosen to deliver their speech to committee members.
“This may sound a little strange, but the inspiration for my commencement speech came from a dream,” said Hollender, who is from Northeast Philadelphia. “I had a dream that I was giving a speech to an audience of graduates and started telling the story of the Wizard of Oz, mentioning the values each character in the story sought: the brains, the heart, the courage, and the home.”
“I have always believed in the importance of stories,” Hollender. “I hoped to make this integration of the heart, brain, courage, and home relevant and inspirational to my fellow students as we seek to continue on our journey out into the world.”
Hollender said she was honored to have been chosen to give the address, especially with the University celebrating its 150th anniversary. She wrote it during Spring Break. Writing it was easy, she said, the hard part was delivering it to the selection committee. She said her experience with the University’s student theatre troupe, The Masque, helped with that aspect of the process.
“I understand that this role (as speaker) carries a great responsibility in inspiring and motivating the audience,” she said. “It includes reflecting on the mission and values of La Salle University, while translating each student’s experience and journey at La Salle into the possibilities of the future.”
Hollender is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and she received the 2012 Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Award. She also won the American Society of Women Accountants National Award in 2011 and 2012.
She was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS), the international business honor society, from which she was also awarded the annual La Salle University/Beta Gamma Sigma scholarship for top BGS inductees. She has also participated in the Masque student theater group and student government and has taken leadership roles in professional accounting organizations on campus.
In October, Hollender was accepted into Disney’s ARP, a full-time, cross-functional experience. Only eight students are accepted into the program each year. She will begin working in California in January, 2014.