Frank Fernandez (1918-2014) watched the first 30 graduates of Le Moyne’s accounting program cross the stage and receive their degrees at the College’s inaugural commencement in 1951. Today, 65 years later, his presence and influence on the department continue to resonate.
Frank arrived on the Heights in the fall of 1950 as the head of its accounting department. As he told The Le Moyne Business Review in 1960, he was drawn to the burgeoning College because “it presented a swell opportunity for a young man to get ahead.” In 1955, he was tapped to head the College’s entire business department. Frank brought with him to the Heights valuable experience he’d gained as a senior staff accountant for Arthur Anderson and Co., where his assignments included audit, taxes and special reports, and as a member of the Army Air Corps, where he was recruited to teach finance and audit contract work.
Frank, who earned a master’s and bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Accounting Association. Locally he served his community as president of the Solvay School Board and treasurer of the Village of Solvay. Frank’s students recall that, in the classroom, he stressed that they perform their work as accountants not only with great skill and expertise, but while also maintaining the highest ethical standards.
Upon his retirement in 1986, the College bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. That year Frank’s students also paid special tribute to him, writing: “What we have received from your values, your judgments and your efforts could never be equally returned. So let us today, as a group, wish you all of God’s blessings and peace and simply and sincerely say, ‘Thanks, Frank,’ for everything you have done and all have done and all you have stood for.”