Diana Fernandez was born in 1950 in Corpus Christi, Texas. She grew up in a newly developed, integrated neighbored designed to serve people working at the Navy base. Pursuing higher education was not a continuous topic of discussion in Fernandez’s household but it was expected of her and her two sisters. Living in an integrated neighborhood allowed Fernandez to also experience that same integration in the classroom at Incarnate Word Academy. The all-girl school included students from nearby cities.