Remembering Happy Fernandez

  • Happy Fernandez

For Immediate Release
January 19, 2013

(Philadelphia, PA) Moore College of Art & Design is deeply saddened by the news of Dr. Happy Fernandez’ passing.

Dr. Fernandez, who stepped down as President last May, led the college for 13 years and had been a tireless champion of Moore’s mission to educate students for careers in art and design.

"Happy Fernandez will be remembered by the entire Moore community as a leader who cared deeply about young women, the arts and the City of Philadelphia. She devoted her life to making a difference, and was a role model who will be sorely missed.

We are committed to continuing the quality of arts education that she led and  in doing so hope to honor her memory"  Cecelia Fitzgibbon, President, Moore College of Art & Design

As president of the nation’s first and only women’s art college, Dr. Fernandez introduced graduate programs, the college’s first co-ed education degree programs, and launched two new innovative undergraduate majors. Her commitment to the college’s career-focused mission led to required internships in all majors and the funding of a unique Internship Fellowship for every junior. 

Under Dr. Fernandez’ leadership, the college completed a successful $30 million capital campaign. Dr. Fernandez was also instrumental in the introduction of the Visionary Woman Awards at Moore, a signature event honoring women leaders in the arts.

Raising money for leadership programs and new scholarships and paid internship fellowships was a particular focus of Dr. Fernandez. During her tenure she secured more than $3.5 million in new scholarships and fellowships.

Dr. Fernandez was also a trailblazer in Philadelphia; a two-term City Councilwoman and the first woman mayoral candidate in the city’s history.

Her passing is a huge loss to the Moore community and to the city of Philadelphia.

Happy's family will inform us of the details of her memorial service.

Remembering Happy Fernandez

Happy's Obituary on

Memorial Service Details

The memorial service for Happy will be held on Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2 pm at the Germantown Jewish Centre located at 400 West Ellet Street in Philadelphia.  There will be a reception immediately following the memorial for all who attend the service, also at the Centre. 

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the following organizations: Public Citizens for Children and Youth and the Children's Village.


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 January 19th, 2013