Police Administration, 1980
“I had the best professors in the world, and the veterans’ affairs office provided strong support.”
La-Verna Fountain was a U.S. Army veteran, single parent and welfare recipient in search of providing a quality life for herself and son: “HACC had a welcoming environment and made me believe it was possible for me to attend school and still be with my baby. The veterans’ affairs office in particular provided me with the support and guidance I needed to stay focused and work through the challenges of raising my child, attending school and finding ways to earn a living.”
As a learner, she felt that she “had the best professors in the world.” The encouragement of her professors convinced her that she was “smart enough, talented enough and strong enough to keep moving forward.”
In addition to enjoying the class sizes, beautiful campus and friendly learner environment, La-Verna also met her husband at HACC’s Harrisburg Campus - on the tennis courts! In 2018, they celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary.
With her HACC educational foundation, La-Verna went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and master’s degree from Columbia University. In 2018, she retired as a vice president at Columbia University, where she also had served as an instructor. Throughout her career, she received several honors and awards, and published a variety of writings. Recently, La-Verna published the book The Gold Coins, A Supernatural Adventure Inspired by True Events under the pen name Sa'lia Friend and received the 2017 Icon Award from the New York Women Builders Council. She has also given back to her community through various volunteer and board roles. In particular, she founded several organizations dedicated to teaching others about nonviolence, including the Discover the Leader Within You Youth Group, Gandhi/King Peace Coalition and Teach Teens to Teach Teens Nonviolence Youth Institute.
Looking back, La-Verna recognizes that in addition to its academic impact, HACC is a strong partner in the community by “connecting with the area's diverse cultures and celebrating the amazing strength of Central Pennsylvania.” If she had one piece of advice for prospective learners, she would recommend HACC for its quality education, affordable price and “supportive environment, where you will be more than a face in the crowd.” To help spread this message, La-Verna shared her story in a HACC video to encourage and inspire others.
In 2019, La-Verna was honored with HACC’s highest alumni distinction – the HACC Distinguished Alumni Award. This award salutes the achievements of outstanding alumni who exemplify the HACC "spirit" with their personal lives, professional achievements and community service and serve as an inspiration to other alumni and current learners.