GCNYC graduates.

Glasgow Caledonian New York College held the first commencement ceremony for its inaugural class of graduate students, who now hold a degree in the school’s Masters of Science program in International Fashion Marketing. The ceremony for its 16 founding class members included the bestowment of the first Lifetime Achievement Award given by GCNYC, which was presented to Georg Kell, the founder of the United Nations Global Compact and current chairman of Arabesque Partners. The event was held on Dec. 15 at the GCNYC campus in downtown New York.

Students in its 16-month-long, part-time program currently hold full-time positions across a wide range of fashion industry companies, such as Coach, Macy’s, Michael Kors, The Real Real, Stuart Weitzman and Theory, among others. The college said that its program culminates with each student delivering an applied research dissertation that “[uses] the lens of sustainability to evaluate the current state of the practices in fashion, developing and testing theories to redesign the industry into a respectful and regenerative ecosystem that supports people, planet and profits.”

A purpose-driven school that touts the maxim “For the Common Good,” Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is a 142-year-old Scottish university with seven campuses worldwide serving more than 20,000 students. In June this year, GCNYC became the first international institution to receive degree-granting authority to teach and offer degrees in New York from the New York Board of Regents; its first class of master’s degree students started classes last September. The College offers full- and part-time Masters of Science programs in International Fashion Marketing; Impact-Focused Business and Investing and Risk; and Resilience and Integrity Management. The campus also houses the Fair Fashion Center, an applied research center that specializes in profitability on sustainability, as well as the sector’s only CEO Coalition. 

GCNYC’s Fair Fashion Center Makes the Case for Sustainability

And Kell was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding achievements at the United Nations, a career spanning over 25 years, which includes playing major roles in the formation of the aforementioned United Nations Global Compact, in addition to Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), together with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE). In his current role at Arabesque Partners, Kell leads the Anglo-German ESG Quant fund manager that assesses performance and sustainability of globally listed companies via self-learning quantitative models and big data, the college said.

Georg Kell and Pamela Gillies, CBE. Photo courtesy of GCNYC.  Slaven Vlasic

GCNYC’s vice president, Cara Smyth, noted the importance of the occasion for the College. “Our research-based Master of Science programs are designed for the next generation of responsible leaders in the sector. Our students are purpose-driven corporate statesmen and women with the skill sets and networks to be global change makers. This being our first year with degree-granting authority, we are extremely proud of our founding class and look forward to engaging them as alumni.” And president of Glasgow Caledonian New York College, Professor Pamela Gillies, CBE said: “The creation of a new college for the Common Good in New York City is a truly thrilling event. The core values on which this new college is built is one as old as the hills but have never been more important in this fractured world in which we live. I am ever so proud that the faculty and master’s students of GCNYC are pledged to be change-makers for the Common Good through turbulent times.”

The list of graduate students includes: Susan Baugh, “Science, Commerce and Culture — A Study of Prosthetics and Fashion;” Jessica Cullen, “Women in Leadership Within the Fashion Industry: A Study of Systemic Gender Inequality in Reaching the Executive Level;” Leisl DeVito, “Consumers and the Apparel Product Supply Chain;” Jill Claire Hatton, “Integrating Sustainable Practice in the Fashion Industry: The Role of Luxury Brands and Senior Management;” Natalie Hojell, “Assessing the Role, Structure, and Effectiveness of Corporate Sustainability Governance within National Apparel Retailers;” Maryana Ivlev, “Immigrant Women’s Perception of the Effects of Education on Their Achievement of Self-Defined Goals of Success in the U.S.;” Amber Cierra Johnson, “Proving the Case for Food Waste as an Effective Replacement for Synthetic Textile Dye;” Maggie Kervick, “Perceived Responsibility and Action on Sustainability: The Business Case for Preferred Fiber Sourcing Strategies;” Selena Lounds, “Connecting Sustainability and Fashion in the Digital World: The Case for Making Sustainable Fashion Viral;” Marissa Nicole Pipkin, “What Does it Mean to be a Sustainable Brand?;” Elizabeth Pulos, “Corporate Motivation to Include Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Language in Annual Disclosures to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): A Qualitative Exploration of Reporting by Apparel and Footwear Companies;” Elizabeth Rich, “A Financial Case for Sustainability Within Apparel Value Chains: Evaluating if there is Evidence that Financial Markets Value a Reduction of Textile Waste Within Cut and Sew Manufacturing;” Elana Roeder, “Redefining the Business Case of Fast Fashion and its Global Systemic Implications;” Sara Daly Roter, “Including Chemical Facts on Garment Labels: The Consumer’s Right to Know;” Marie-Helene Vaughan, “The Deconstruction of ‘Luxury’: Can Luxury Transcend Fashion?;” Frank Zambrelli, “Understanding How Innovative Finance Vehicles Can Scale Renewable Energy Conversion and Reduce Environmental and Social Impacts Across Fashion’s Supply Chain.”

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