Moore President Happy Fernandez Announces Plans to Resign

  • graduation 2011

For Immediate Release
May 23, 2011

(Philadelphia, PA)—Moore College of Art & Design President Happy Craven Fernandez has announced her intention to resign following Graduation in May 2012. Since her inauguration in fall 1999, Dr. Fernandez has been a tireless champion of Moore’s mission to educate students for careers in art and design. Fernandez is the Ninth President of Moore.

Moore Board of Manager’s Chair Art Block commented, “Dr. Fernandez has transformed the college. Moore is a stronger, more resilient institution today due to her extraordinary leadership, energy and commitment. Her creative vision has led to academic innovation, capital improvements and financial stability. Under her leadership enrollment has increased 29%. She has raised record amounts of money that have resulted in the college’s first capital campaign, the college’s first endowed professorship, and many new endowed scholarships and capital improvements. Thanks to her guidance, the college has a greater capacity to address future opportunities and challenges.”
“I feel it is the right time to make this transition with the college in such a strong position,” stated Dr. Fernandez. “I have enjoyed my years at Moore seeing students of all ages discover their talents and strengths and pursue careers and leadership in the visual arts. As a life-long educator, that is a great pleasure and joy.   As President, I have focused on growth and innovation to enable Moore to become an even more vibrant educational and cultural institution.“
During her tenure, Dr. Fernandez introduced graduate programs, the college’s first co-educational degree programs: an MA in art education and MFAs in studio art and interior design. She also launched two new innovative undergraduate majors: the Curatorial Studies major, the nation’s first undergraduate program of its kind, and a major in Photography and Digital Arts. Her commitment to the college’s career-focused mission led the college to require paid internship fellowships in all majors and the funding of a unique Paid Internship Fellowship for every junior, as well as the addition a business minor.
Under Dr. Fernandez’ leadership, the college completed a successful $30 million capital campaign. Since 1999, the college has invested over $27 million in sustainable building renovations and improvements. Under her oversight, renovations of Wilson Hall doubled the college’s classroom, studio and public spaces.

Dr. Fernandez was also instrumental in the introduction of the Visionary Woman Awards at Moore. This signature event honors women leaders in the arts, brings national visibility to the college and also raises significant scholarship funds for Visionary Woman Scholars.
As President of the nation’s first and only women’s art college, raising money for leadership programs and new scholarships and fellowships has been a particular focus of Dr. Fernandez. During her tenure she has secured more than $3.5 million in new scholarships and fellowships. Two initiatives that have expanded women’s leadership development are the Emerging Leaders in the Arts and Business Scholars in the Arts.
Penny Fox, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “On behalf of the Board, it is with great reluctance that we accept Dr. Fernandez’ resignation. I extend my deepest gratitude to President Fernandez for her exemplary service. She has been pivotal in raising Moore’s reputation as a respected educational institution and as a major cultural force in the Philadelphia region. We look forward to the opportunity over the next year to celebrate her distinguished service to the college.”
On May 20, the Board acted to constitute a Search Committee who will assist the Board in the search for President Fernandez’ successor. This Committee will be made up of eleven members, to include six current and former board members, two members of the faculty and one representative of each of the college’s administrative staff, alumnae and student body. The Committee will be named by the end of June. The college anticipates announcing Dr. Fernandez’ successor in the spring of 2012.
Moore College of Art & Design educates students for inspiring careers in art and design. Founded in 1848, Moore is the nation's first and only women's art college. Moore's career-focused environment and professionally active faculty form a dynamic community in the heart of Philadelphia's cultural district. The College offers nine Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees for women. A coeducational Graduate Studies program was launched in summer, 2009. In addition, Moore provides many valuable opportunities in the arts through The Galleries at Moore, a Continuing Education Certificate program for adults, the 91-year-old acclaimed Youth Art Program for girls and boys grades 1-12, The Art Shop and the Sculpture Park. For more information about Moore, visit
Published on May 23rd, 2011