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Alumni Spotlight

The Farmingdale Four 

A Quick Q&A with George Fernandez '77

George Fernandez '77

Tell me your FSC story. Why was FSC the right school for you? 

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an artist, but I also felt I needed to give my parents the respect of doing what they wanted me to do, which was to study business. Farmingdale was around the corner from where I grew up, and it was somewhere I knew I could learn and grow. It set me on my path to achieving everything I have in my career and my life, and for that I’m very grateful.

What memory – of a class, a teacher, a project – stays with you to this day?

If you want me to share memories about my student days, many of those stories began with a pitcher of beer at the Ram’s Den. So, I’ll answer this one from my perspective as a teacher. I once had a talented student in one of my courses who confided that her parents were pushing her to be an artist, but her heart wasn’t in it. This is almost the opposite of my story, right? My parents didn’t want me to be an artist, so I studied business to please them. But I told her that I know now that teaching is about helping students find their way, even if it’s not in the arts. And so that student followed her passion and studied automotive technology. When I saw her at graduation, she had the biggest smile on her face.  

The FSC motto is: "to become all that we are capable of being." How has FSC shaped who you are today?

Looking at my career, you might assume – incorrectly – that the business degree I got from Farmingdale was an aberration. But I went on from my two years at Farmingdale and associate’s degree to get a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Hofstra before going on to study at the School of Visual Arts (BFA Illustration 1984), [SH4] Syracuse University (MA Illustration 2000)[SH5] , and Marywood University (MFA Illustration 2005). [SH6] So it’s all connected for me. Farmingdale taught be me to be a student. And then later at Farmingdale I learned to be a teacher. And that business degree helped me achieve success as an artist and illustrator early on. After all, what is an independent artist but a sole proprietor of a small business? My achievements in art make me proud, of course, but teaching is what I was wired to do, and Farmingdale is central to my success in both.

What would you tell a student just starting at FSC?

It’s a blessing to come back to Farmingdale to teach and share my experiences with my students. Sure, they learn artistic techniques and skills in my classes but I hope more than anything they learn to listen to their instincts. I would – and do – tell new students to not be afraid, to step off the conveyor belt, trust your intuition, and live your dream today. You need to forge your own path and be comfortable with the plan not always going according to plan.

Development & Alumni Engagement

The Office for Development and Alumni Engagement works closely with the Farmingdale College Foundation – raising and managing critical philanthropic dollars for the College, cultivating meaningful relationships with donors, corporate partners and community friends – and the Farmingdale Alumni Association, keeping our 100,000 alumni informed, engaged, proud, and supportive of the College, strengthening their lifelong connection to FSC students and each other.

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