La Salle graduate student shares Commencement Weekend with her daughter 

April 12, 2024

Daynell Wright, ’01, M.A. ’24

For Daynell Wright, ’01, M.A. ’24, of New Castle, Del., this year’s graduation has special meaning as she receives her master’s degree in bilingual and bicultural studies.  

It was 23 years ago when Wright received her undergraduate degree from La Salle. She was pregnant with her daughter Jayla Hill, ’24, at the time. Now, this mother and daughter will walk across the stage together again as they both receive diplomas during their respective ceremonies. 

“I have the privilege of seeing her graduate from La Salle with her undergraduate degree, and I get to share the day with my best friend,” she said.  

As Wright prepares to receive her diploma at the 2024 Commencement, she talks about what being an Explorer means to her.   

Why did you choose La Salle?  

I received my undergraduate degree from La Salle in 2001 and minored in Spanish. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to travel abroad to Spain as a part of a travel study course. This furthered my love of learning the language and coming back to La Salle for my masters was the only choice. I knew that the classes would be small, and the professors would provide the level of education that I was seeking.  

What will you remember most about your La Salle experience?  

Bonding over cultural food experiences in class for Victoria Ketz, Ph.D., professor of Spanish and chair of Global Languages, Literatures, and Perspectives.  

What hurdles did you have to overcome to achieve this degree, and how did you overcome them? 

The biggest challenge I had to face in this program was getting the courage to return following a hiatus due to family and personal challenges. My children and my mom were my biggest inspiration, and I felt like I owed it to them and myself to see it through to complete my degree.  

Tell us about the professor/staff member who supported you the most.  

Manuel Gómez, Ph.D, director of the Hispanic Institute, has been instrumental in my return to the program. When I reached out to ask for readmission, I was unsure if I would be able to return. Dr. Gómez welcomed me back warmly into the program and said, “I want to make sure that you graduate.” And that is what has kept me going with my busy work schedule and commute from Delaware.  

Who else acted as mentor(s) to you? 

Director of Multicultural Affairs Cherylyn Rush has been a mentor since my undergraduate days and has continued to support me as a current student, parent of a student, and an alumna. She constantly seeks ways to keep me engaged in the community.  

Please tell us about a proud moment you’ve had while being enrolled. Why is it one of your greatest achievements?  

A proud moment I had was completing my first presentation in my Art & Culture of Spanish America class. I was nervous about being back in the classroom and not only doing a presentation, but also presenting in Spanish.  My classmates and professor were supportive, and it went better than expected.  

What does graduating mean to you?  

Never giving up on your dreams.  

What is your next step after graduation?  

First up is a long overdue family vacation. Then weighing new career options either in human services administration or as a multilingual learner teacher.  

What does La Salle mean to you?  

La Salle to me means lifelong friendships and learning. So many lessons learned at 20th and Olney, and friendships that have spanned over 20 years.