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EXCLUSIVE: Big-name Alums Return to Keynote FIT’s Graduation

by News Desk

FIT Alumni and industry leaders Sarah Holbrook, Ken Downing, Laure Hériard Dubreuil, Stacy Flynn, Ralph Rucci and Karin Tracy will be the keynote speakers at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology’s 2022 graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies. 

“It is a pleasure to welcome back each of these distinguished FIT alumni,” FIT president Joyce F. Brown said in a statement. “Highly accomplished, they serve as inspiration for our graduating students. I believe their presence will add to the sense of joy for the class of 2022.”

During the graduation ceremonies on May 19, 24 and 25, FIT noted that more than 3,700 students will be awarded bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in 31 programs, and almost 100 students will receive graduate degrees in seven programs.

Holbrook, a recipient of an MPS in Global Fashion Management from FIT and public speaker, strategist and writer who specializes in retail innovation and long-term strategy, will kick off the graduation events on Thursday at 6 p.m. at FIT’s Morris W. and Fannie B. Haft Theater for the School of Graduate Studies Commencement and Hooding Ceremony. 

FIT’s undergraduate commencement ceremonies on May 24 and 25 will be held at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park.

On the 24th, Stacey Flynn, chief executive officer and cofounder of Evrnu and a Textile Development and Marketing graduate of FIT, will speak at 10 a.m. and receive a President’s Award; Ralph Rucci, founder and designer of RR 331 LLC and a Fashion Design graduate of FIT will follow at 1 p.m. and receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York through FIT, and Ken Downing, chief brand officer of Hearst Luxury Collections E-commerce and Neiman Marcus and FIT alumnus, will speak at 4 p.m. and receive a President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.

On May 25, Karin Tracy, head of industry, retail, fashion, beauty and luxury for Meta (formerly Facebook) and a Fashion Merchandising Management graduate of FIT will open the final day of ceremonies at 10 a.m., and receive a President’s Award. Laurie Hériard Dubreuil, the founder and creative director of The Webster and an Advertising and Market Communications graduate of FIT, is scheduled to speak at 1 p.m. and will receive a President’s Award for Creative Excellence.

Bob Fisch and FIT president Dr. Joyce F. Brown with the class of 2022 recipients of the Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

Additionally, May 17, FIT awarded two $25,000 awards for entrepreneurial excellence at the school’s New York campus. The class of 2022 recipients of the Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence are Stephanie Kim, Amanda Brown and Eva Carelus.

Kim, a Fashion Design MFA and two-time Cannes Young Lion winner for graphic design, was awarded for The Yearbook Committee, which is a full-service creative design house that provides media production, creative direction and original costume design, with expertise in science fiction; Brown and Carelus, Global Fashion Management MPS, for Made to Alter, a circular, bridesmaid dress brand with rentable dresses and self-adjustable features.

The awards were established by Robert Fisch, founder and former chairman and CEO of Rue21 and award-winning author of “Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer,” and the forthcoming, “Get a Life,” to help advance and nurture the careers of outstanding students from FIT’s School of Graduate Studies’ Fashion Design MFA and Global Fashion Management MPS programs. Additionally, the awards serve as an extension of Bob Fisch’s Graduate Student Award Program, which launched in 2021 with a $300,000 initial gift from Fisch. That program includes thesis project completion grants, scholarships for FIT’s Fashion Design MFA and Global Fashion Management MPS programs, year-round educational fireside chats led by Fisch and one-on-one and group mentoring sessions.


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