David Yurman and Tommy Hilfiger will be the keynote speakers when the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a college of the State University of New York, holds its annual commencement exercises. Yurman and Designer Stephen Burrows will receive the degree of Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, and Hilfiger will receive the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.
More than 3,800 students will be awarded associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in 41 programs, with more than 2,000 attending commencement.
David Yurman is a jewelry designer who is among the best known and most successful American artisans, bridging the worlds of luxury and mass appeal. His name is synonymous with quality and craftsmanship. Yurman launched his line in New York 37 years ago, and has grown it into a global presence. The honorary degree is being given to formally recognize Yurman’s international influence as an innovative, visionary artist with an unwavering dedication to the mastery of craft, and to acknowledge his humanitarian and philanthropic spirit.
Tommy Hilfiger is the founder of one of the world’s most recognized lifestyle brands, and is the designer and business leader behind the billion-dollar enterprise, the Tommy Hilfiger Corporation. The Tommy Hilfiger brand—identifiable throughout the world—exemplifies the American spirit, and Hilfiger himself embodies the American dream. Hilfiger believes in giving back, and he does so through his own foundation, actively supporting numerous national and international causes. He is also a mentor to the next generation of designers and fashion business students. The President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement is being given to recognize Hilfiger’s creativity, his business acumen, and his generous philanthropic spirit.
Stephen Burrows is an American fashion designer and FIT alumnus. In 1973, his designs were showcased in the legendary “Battle of Versailles,” a fashion show that pitted Paris haute couture against high-end American sportswear. For the first time, critics say, Americans outshone the French, and no one embodied that spontaneous, irreverent moment more than Burrows. He is being awarded an honorary degree to formally acknowledge his decades-long success and remarkable vision, and for his vibrant and innovative designs. As much, Burrows, who was the first African American to win the Coty Award—which he went on to win three times—is being recognized as a pioneer in an industry that still faces issues of tolerance and inclusivity.
Yurman will address the students of the School of Art and Design and School of Liberal Arts and receive the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts at the 10:00 am ceremony. Burrows will receive the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.
Hilfiger will address the students of the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology and receive the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 3:00 pm ceremony
Both the 10 am and 3 pm commencement exercises will be streamed live at fitnyc.edu/commencement.