Remembering Happy

I know I usually post on Wednesdays but this week I had trouble uncovering the right words to say.

A great woman passed away this past Saturday. Happy Fernandez was the president of my Alma mater (Moore College of Art & Design) for 13 year and my entire time there. She was kind, intelligent and always ready with a smile for you when you passed her in the halls. 

Moore College is not like other colleges where you maybe see the President only at official functions or just to shake their hand on graduation day. Moore is an all woman's art college, one of only two in the world, and is made up of only roughly 500 students. We are a small community and at Moore everyone interacts with every one. 

I first met Happy during an open house and portfolio evaluation day. I knew Moore from my time in their Summer Arts and Design Program but I was nervous out of my mind anyway. I wanted to go to Moore so badly. My Mama and I were waiting for something, I can't really remember now what, but we were just keeping to ourselves chatting. This woman came over in a bright purple suit and just started talking to us. She flashed a warm smile and asked how my portfolio review went. We continued talking for probably about ten minutes, discussing my time in the summer program and why I love Moore so much. She talked about why she loved the location of the school and agreed with many of the same reasons for why I loved Moore. As our conversation came to an end she shook my hand and said "It was a pleasure to meet you Jennifer. I'm so glad we had a chance to talk. By the way I'm Happy, I'm the president here at Moore." I smiled and she walked away leaving the gallery onto another part of the small two building campus. I looked at my Mama dumbstruck that the woman I had just been having a casual conversation with was the president of the entire college. I couldn't wait for the train ride home to be over so I could tell everyone when I got back. That small little conversation meant so much to me then. It still does now.

That was just the beginning though through my time at Moore any time she passed you in the hall she would smile and say hi. She got her lunch from our cafeteria the same as the students and other faculty. and one time, we stood and waited for our rides, talking about the snowy weather and homework.  

There were others at the school who knew her better then I, who were much closer to her, but the little things that she did, not having to and no matter how insignificant they may seem meant a lot to me as a student of Moore College of Art & Design. 

This is a loss to the City of Philadelphia and to the Moore Community but we at Moore are a group of strong women who will persevere and continue on while remembering the wonderful women like Happy who helped make our experiences possible. 

Happy and I on my graduation day May 201
 Here is the link to Moore's remembrance of Happy as well as her obituary.