LIM College president Elizabeth S. Marcuse, representing the third-generation of Marcuse leadership, illustrated the path of its graduates in yellow-brick-road fashion, tracing back to the college’s founding year of 1939, which also commemorated the release of the film “The Wizard of Oz.” To walk a path of intelligence, heart and courage are lessons instilled in the film, reminded of by Marcuse at the commencement ceremony at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, but as Dorothy clicked her ruby red slippers, so too “you will always have a home at LIM,” said Marcuse, addressing the graduates.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who represents New York’s 12th Congressional District, was the first to address LIM’s graduating class, reiterating the role of New York City in the industry and touting how it now eclipses London, Paris and Milan as the “Fashion Capital of the World.” As a school that focuses on the study of business and fashion, LIM College sees the value in the $98 billion-a-year fashion industry. “Whether you end up in retail, design, production or marketing, you’re going to have an interesting future,” said Maloney in her speech.
The keynote speaker was global advocate for women and youth and former FBI executive Lauren C. Anderson. Serving 29 years in the FBI, Anderson offered wisdom to graduates. “You will come across people, even among your family and friends, who will tell you, ‘You can’t do that.’ But you can!” said Anderson in her address. Enriching the lives of others, while practicing kindness and embracing failure, is an impact Anderson has cultivated with intention, and sometimes without intention. Meeting at the G(irls) 20 Summit (an international organization advocating for the development of women leaders) nearly four years ago, a past attendee of the conference later reached out to Anderson after graduating from the Singapore police academy. As is true for the latest graduates of LIM College, or anyone pursuing a career in the fashion industry, who you meet along the way is just as important as “who you know” on the inside.
And LIM knows many faces across the breadth of the fashion industry. With alumni at companies including Chanel, Barneys New York, Refinery 29, Amazon, and Moda Operandi, such as “Rising Star” award recipient, Stefani O’Sullivan (global marketing manager); or Maxwell F. Marcuse award recipient, Kristi Sloe (vice president of product development) — the students of LIM boast a network of connections and a high placement rate. Or they’re founding their own companies such as “Shining Star” award recipient Bianca Caampued, who is cofounder and creative director of Small Girls PR. Inspiring her classmates with her next endeavors at John Varvatos Enterprises, was Alexandra Helmer, a visual studies major, who was also the Class of 2019’s valedictorian.
Nearly 570 graduates make up the Class of 2019, the largest yet, hailing from 23 countries and 22 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. “One of the reasons LIM has been able to stand the test of time is that we have never stopped progressing as the world has changed around us,” reiterated Marcuse.