Karen Zuccardi at her apartment on Thursday afternoon. Karen is graduating from Lafayette College this weekend with a dual degree in International Economics and Commerce and Spanish. Karen tore a ligament in her knee from a skiing accident in January, but didn't want to take the doctor's advice to get surgery. She knew it would leave her out of work, that she couldn't pay her bills, and most concerning, that she wouldn't be able to send money to support her mother who lives in Columbia. Her dream of saving enough money to fly her mother in for her college graduation seemed out of reach. But the full-time Sands Waitress and part-time Lafayette College student had an angel on her side. Lafayette's Dr. Jeff Goldstein, was touched by the young woman's unshakable resolve to put her family before herself. So he made a promise, one the helped persuade her to get the surgery to repair her knee: 'I told her that I'd find a way to make sure her mother made it here for graduation,' said Goldstein, who collected enough money to from the college and community donations to fly her in. 'Karen came to this country knowing almost no English, worked full-time and chipped away at her dream to get a degree from a prestigious college. She was a real inspiration to me.' On Saturday, Zuccardi will graduate with her degree in International Economics, and standing among the crowds of supporters on Lafayette's campus will her 69-year-old mother, whose visit was made possible by Goldstein's efforts.
DOUGLAS KILPATRICK / SPECIAL TO THE MORNING CALL
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