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Moore Announces Shirley Vernon Endowed Scholarship for Excellence in Design

For Immediate Release
October 26, 2012

( Philadelphia, PA) Moore College of Art & Design is pleased to announce the new Shirley Vernon Endowed Scholarship for Excellence in Design. Professor Margaret Leahy, a long-time friend of Shirley Vernon and former chair of the College’s interior design department, will present the award for the first time at Honors Convocation on April 13, 2012.   

Shirley Vernon was a member of Moore’s faculty from 1986 -1995, and was one of the pioneering female architects in Philadelphia. When she passed away in February 2011, at the age of 80, Professor Vernon generously left her estate to the College. At its September meeting, the Boards of Trustees and Managers voted to create this new endowed scholarship for a Moore student majoring in a design field (interior design, graphic design or illustration). 

The Shirley Vernon Endowed Scholarship will be awarded every year to a full-time rising junior in the Design Department with the highest overall GPA. The student will receive $2,000 in both her junior and senior years. To honor Shirley Vernon's leadership in interior design, the first scholarship will be awarded to an interior design major in 2012. Because this scholarship is endowed, it will be awarded every year in perpetuity.

"Shirley would be so happy to see that her gift to the college is being used for this endowed scholarship," Leahy said. "She had no children and this is the perfect way for her legacy to continue into the next generations. Beside the scholarship, Shirley’s legacy is that of being her own authentic person, with the strength to be a pioneer, to be fashionable and serious at the same time and to have the requisite strong sense of humor to make it all work together. "

Professor Vernon graduated cum laude from the School of Architecture at Pennsylvania State University. She worked for Vincent G. Kling and Associates from 1953 to 1968. Among her major projects at Kling were the US Embassy Office Building in Quito, Ecuador, and the Union Carbide Technical Center in Tarrytown, NY. She established her own practice in 1968. Vernon was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1976 and was an active member of AIA Philadelphia.

Shirley Vernon became a professor in the interior design department at Moore in 1986, serving as co-chair of the department from 1994-1995. She retired from teaching in 1996. She remained an active consultant to the department up until her death. The new Shirley Vernon Endowed Scholarship for Excellence in Design is one way to remember Professor Vernon’s service, leadership and generosity.

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 October 26th, 2011