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Family Legacy at CSE Spans More Than Four Decades

Family Legacy at CSE Spans More Than Four Decades


Morristown, N.J. (November 30, 2018) – "That's where you're going to college," Clementina Gomez Pena would tell her three young daughters whenever they passed the College of Saint Elizabeth in the 1950s. While Clementina was a successful realtor, whose business C Pena Real Estate still exists today, it was her greatest wish to attend college. Unfortunately, she was never able to fulfill this desire herself.

Instead, she inspired a legacy of nearly a dozen CSE graduates that has spanned more than four decades. Isabelle Charilas, '73, Clementina's eldest daughter, was the first to actually attend CSE in 1969. Her two sisters, Clementina "Tina" Doyle, '77, and Dolores Diaz, '83, followed shortly after.

The College of Saint Elizabeth is known for fostering a family-like atmosphere among students. However, few have taken this quite as literally as the Gomez family. From 1969 to 2018, several branches of the Gomez family tree have been educated at CSE. This includes first cousins, brothers, sisters, second cousins, married couples, fathers, daughters and even two friends who became sisters after marrying a pair of brothers they met at a CSE mixer.

"I can't even count the number of people I've sent to the College," says Isabelle, who worked as a teacher in Dover, N.J. for several decades and encouraged multiple students to attend CSE. "Everyone I know just loved their time at CSE."

Peter Ugalde, '08/09, a retired police captain and Isabelle's first cousin, met the chair of CSE's undergraduate in criminal justice program while in management leadership class at the police academy. Within just three years, Peter had earned both his bachelor's and his master's at CSE and was teaching in the criminal justice program at the College.

"I had a great time going to class and teaching at CSE," says Peter, who is currently the vice president of CSI Technology in Edison, NJ.

His daughter Sydney Ugalde, '18, is the latest to graduate from CSE with her bachelor's in business administration. Currently, she's working as a pharmacy technician while applying to law school.

When Clementina pointed to the College of Saint Elizabeth's campus all those years ago, she had no idea that CSE would become home to so many of her descendants and relatives.

Isabelle Pena Charilas, followed by 11 other members of her family, have all earned their education at CSE. This includes Isabelle's two sisters (Clementina "Tina" Pena Doyle, '77 and Dolores Pena Diaz, '83), two of her first cousins (Janine Baratta, '93 and Peter Ugalde, '08/'09), four of her second cousins (Angelica Gomez Rodriguez, '96, Ricardo Gomez, '04, Maria Del Carmen Gomez, '15, Matthew Gomez, '15, and his wife Samantha Cepeda Gomez, '15), a single first cousin once removed (Sydney Ugalde, '18) and finally Isabelle's sister's sister-in-law (Barbara Doyle, '77).

The Gomez family hopes to continue this legacy at CSE for many years to come.

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