Iona University Alumna Lissette Fernández ’97 Recognized by the Peekskill Herald as One of the City’s Heroes

Alumni Success

The Honorable Lissette G. Fernández ’97 was recently recognized by the Peekskill Herald for her philanthropic work as a judge at Peekskill City Court, where she presides over a multitude of criminal and civil cases. In 2020, she made history by becoming the first Latina judge appointed to the court.

Fernández is also an immigration attorney and founder of the Law Office of Lissette G. Fernández, which is the only bilingual and biliterate immigration law office in Peekskill. She dedicates her life to making a difference for immigrants because she herself is a naturalized United States citizen from Ecuador.

“I enjoy serving my community,” Fernández said. “Specifically, giving litigants an opportunity to be heard and to resolve their matters promptly and equitably.”

In October 2023, Fernández received the 9th Judicial District’s Access to Justice Award presented by the Hudson Valley Hispanic Bar Association for her work in the judiciary in raising awareness for immigrants' rights and teaching the community.

Judge Fernandez at the 9th Judicial District’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration with Senator Luis Sepulveda.

At the 9th Judicial District’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration with Senator Luis Sepulveda.

Fernández was also named one of the top 25 businesswomen in Westchester County by Westchester Magazine in November 2023. She was honored for improving the lives of those in her community. 

“These awards recognize my commitment to public service, which was instilled in me during my time at Iona,” Fernández said.

Fernández graduated cum laude from Iona in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in history and a minor in philosophy. She was a member of Phi Alpha Theta (The National History Honors Society). 

“I enjoyed learning about the origins of our country as well as other nations,” Fernández said. “Comparing and contrasting cultural norms around the world allowed me to understand my multiculturalism along with that of others.”

Fernández credits her professors at Iona for creating an environment and a sense of community for students, allowing them to reach their full academic and personal potential. She encourages students to get involved on campus and form connections with professors and peers. The lessons learned at Iona helped to develop Fernandez personally and inspired her work of changing lives.

“The Christian Brothers’ education instilled in me the concept of service above self,” Fernández said. “That concept has led to many accomplishments in my life, including a successful career as a litigator and a jurist. My wish is for others to experience the same for generations to come.”

Read the full article in the Peekskill Herald and learn more about Lissette Fernández ’97 here.

Judge Fernandez at the 9th Judicial District’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration.

At the 9th Judicial District’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration, with the HVHBA’s Board, Presiding Justice of the Second Department, Hector LaSalle, Administrative Judge, Anne Minihan, and Supreme Court Justices Doris Gonzalez and Jim Hyer.