Brooke Shields and Marc Metrick will be the keynote speakers when the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a college of the State University of New York, holds its 70th commencement exercises on Thursday, May 21, 2015, at Javits Center North in New York City. Architect Daniel Libeskind will receive an honorary degree. Fashion industry executive and FIT chairman emeritus Peter G. Scotese will receive the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. Joy Herfel Cronin, Ralph Lauren Corporation group president of the Americas and FIT alumna, and Randy Fenoli, television personality and FIT alumnus, will both receive President’s Awards for Creative Excellence. Four thousand students will be awarded associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in nearly 50 areas of study.
Shields will speak at the commencement exercises held at 10:30 am for students of FIT’s School of Art and Design and School of Graduate Studies. Fenoli and Libeskind will receive their awards during this ceremony. Metrick will speak at the commencement exercises held at 3:00 pm for students in FIT’s Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology and School of Liberal Arts. Scotese and Cronin will receive their awards during this ceremony.
Both the 10:30 am and 3:00 pm commencement exercises will be streamed live at fitnyc.edu/commencement.
Actor, author, and entrepreneur Brooke Shields began her career at only 11 months of age when she was selected as the Ivory Snow baby, and by age 3 she was a runway model. Shields won her first acting role at age 9, and went on to win fame starring in Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby, which was a Palme d’Or Award winner at the Cannes Film Festival, and the coming-of-age tales Blue Lagoon and Endless Love.
Shields has also maintained a successful television career. Her work on the NBC hit Suddenly Susan garnered a Golden Globe nomination, and she received an American Comedy Award nod for her guest role on Friends. She is the recipient of five People’s Choice Awards and has starred in NBC’s Lipstick Jungle, in addition to making guest appearances on a wide range of shows.
Shortly after graduating from Princeton with an honors degree in French literature, Shields made her Broadway debut as Rizzo in the hit musical Grease, for which she earned the Theatre World Award in 1994. She went on to star in Chicago, Wonderful Town, Cabaret, and The Addams Family, all of which earned her rave reviews. Her autobiographical cabaret act, In My Life, was also critically acclaimed. In 2012, Shields starred with Richard Chamberlain in an adaptation of The Exorcist at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.
Shields is the best-selling author of several books, including The Brooke Book, On Your Own, and the highly publicized and critically acclaimed Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression. She tapped into her experiences as a mother, branching out into the world of children’s books, penning Welcome to Your World, Baby and It’s the Best Day Ever, Dad! for Harper Collins. Her latest book, There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me, published in 2014, quickly became a New York Times best seller.
In addition to her career, Shields continues to be a strong advocate for women’s issues and for keeping the arts alive in schools.
Marc J. Metrick was named president of Saks Fifth Avenue in April 2015. A highly accomplished retail industry executive with deep experience in strategy, business development, merchandising, marketing, operations, and finance, Metrick has served in senior leadership roles at Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) for more than a decade.
Most recently, Metrick was HBC’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer, reporting to the office of the chairman, where he developed corporate strategies for all of the company’s banners and sat on HBC’s executive committee.
Metrick played an instrumental role in HBC’s 2013 acquisition of Saks and has subsequently focused on developing the strategic plan that Saks is now successfully pursuing to position the business for leadership in the international luxury sector. The strategy includes elevating the brand experience, substantially building SaksFifthAvenue.com as part of a seamless all-channel offering, strategically expanding the Saks store base both in the U.S. and into Canada, and integrating Saks into the HBC business to realize over $100 million in synergies. He joined Hudson’s Bay Company in 2012 as executive vice president and chief marketing officer, where he oversaw both the marketing and the e-commerce businesses for Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor.
Metrick has a degree in business administration from Boston University. He sits on the board of Phoenix House.
Daniel Libeskind is one of the leading architects working today, responsible for some of the most innovative buildings of our time, including the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the original design for the World Trade Center site. Libeskind’s buildings are not only visually stunning, but have the power to inspire feelings in their visitors. Smithsonian magazine has praised his “astonishing ability to translate meaning into structure.” He is recognized for his commitment to international understanding and his contributions to our shared cultural heritage. Raised in Poland, Israel, and the Bronx, Libeskind studied architecture at Cooper Union and devoted his early career to teaching. In 1989, he won a competition to build a Jewish museum in Berlin—his first building, and one that revealed his genius. The success of the Jewish Museum foretold what would become Daniel Libeskind’s greatest gift: the ability of his buildings to physically embody emotion. “My work is about preconstruction as well as construction,” Libeskind says. “It’s about everything before the building, all the history of the site.”
Libeskind’s work is global, ranging from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi to Warsaw to Hong Kong, and includes the World Trade Center memorial, the Denver Art Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and the Military History Museum in Dresden. Libeskind’s pro-bono projects include replacing a youth center in Gulfport, LA, that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and redesigning two villages in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami. He has designed a media center for Hong Kong’s City University and Crystals at CityCenter, a retail complex in Las Vegas. For him, designing malls, which many architects see as pedestrian, is as meaningful as his higher-profile work.
PETER G. SCOTESE
Peter G. Scotese’s textile career began in 1947 when he joined Indian Head Mills, Inc., where he rose from salesman through a succession of general management positions to become a vice president. In 1963, he joined Federated Department Stores, serving as chairman of the Milwaukee Boston Store Division and as a corporate vice president. He went on to become a leader in the textile industry as head of Springs Mills, Inc., a major manufacturing company. During his 12-year tenure as president and CEO, sales tripled and earnings quadrupled.
With a deep commitment to the arts, Scotese guided a sizable expansion of Springs Mills’ support for the arts. He has served as a vice chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s business committee, and is a past member of the Museum of Modern Art’s photographic committee. He has supported a wide range of civic, community, and business activities, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Scotese joined FIT’s board of trustees in 1970 and served until 1996, the final 13 years as chairman; when he stepped down, the board unanimously named him chairman emeritus. Among his many efforts at FIT, Scotese galvanized support to fund the college’s state-of-the-art student computer facility, now named in his honor.
Scotese has been recognized with countless honors, including, in 1981, the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, a national award that recognizes business leaders who have risen from humble beginnings. In 1983, he was named “Textile Man of the Year” by the textile section of the New York Board of Trade, and in 1999, the Home Fashion Products Association designated him a “Dean of the Industry.” In 1982, Scotese received an honorary degree from the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. FIT granted him an honorary doctorate in 2004.
Randy Fenoli, who graduated from FIT in 1993 with a degree in Fashion Design, has made it his life’s mission to “educate, elevate, and empower” brides and to help them realize their own personal beauty.
Born on a cattle farm in Southern Illinois, Fenoli is the youngest of seven children. Driven by his fascination for design, Fenoli taught himself to sew at age 9. His interest in fashion led him to FIT, where he won a number of awards for design and achievement. After graduating, he launched two bridal collections: Randy Fenoli for the Diamond Collection and Randy Fenoli for Dressy Creations. He is the recipient of two DEBI (Design Excellence in the Bridal Industry) awards, the most prestigious recognition for bridal designers. From 2007 to 2012, he was fashion director of New York’s Kleinfeld Bridal Salon, where he consulted with nearly 15,000 brides a year.
Today, as the star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, Big Bliss, Randy Knows Best, and Randy to the Rescue, Fenoli is seen by millions of viewers each week. He has appeared as a guest on many television shows, including Good Morning America, Today, The View, The Rachael Ray Show, Extra, Get Married, and The Martha Stewart Show. Outside the bridal arena, Fenoli served as a fashion commentator for the Associated Press on the 2010 Academy Awards red carpet.
As a writer and contributor, Fenoli is often featured and quoted in publications such as People, Parade, and In Touch, as well as in nearly all of the bridal magazines, including Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Bridal Guide. In addition to posting to his own blog, Fenoli often acts as a contributor to other websites and blogs, including TheKnot.com and TLC.com. In 2011, he released his first book, It’s All About the Dress, the ultimate guide to shopping for a wedding gown.
JOY HERFEL CRONIN
Joy Herfel Cronin is group president of the Americas at Ralph Lauren Corporation. In this role, Cronin oversees the sales, planning, retail development, marketing, and finance teams across all wholesale divisions and outlet stores. This expansive portfolio spans multiple brands and product categories.
With the company since 1989, Cronin has developed and led some of its largest and most profitable businesses and has overseen the expansion of the Ralph Lauren brand from its roots in men’s apparel to a complete lifestyle offering, including women’s, children’s, and home lines. With experience in various merchandising, planning, and sales roles, she leads with a deep understanding and a holistic view of the business, and carefully balances brand and business considerations to make decisions that best serve both.
Cronin is highly regarded within the company, not only as an exceptional leader who delivers results, but also as a passionate advocate for key topics, such as diversity, mentoring, and talent development. Outside the company, she is respected for her approach to partnership with retailers and is universally recognized as one of the industry’s best and brightest talents.
She is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta and FIT, and is a member of the board of directors of the FIT Foundation.
The Fashion Institute of Technology has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology for 70 years. With a curriculum that provides a singular blend of hands-on, practical experience, classroom study, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, FIT offers nearly 50 outstanding programs that are affordable and relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Internationally renowned, FIT educates approximately 10,000 students annually, drawing regional, national, and international talent to New York City. FIT grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the global marketplace. As measured by retention, graduation, and employment-upon-graduation rates, the college is one of the highest achieving community colleges in the City and State of New York.