Past Commencement Speakers

Year Speaker(s)

Sarah Davis, Founder and President, Fashionphile

Mickey Drexler, CEO, Alex Mill

B Michael, Fashion Designer, Author, and FIT Alumnus

Bibhu Mohapatra, Fashion Designer and FIT Alumnus

Rebecca Moses, Designer, Author, Artist, and FIT Alumna


Francisco Costa, Creator, Costa Brazil, and FIT Alumnus

Dayna Isom Johnson, Trend Expert for Etsy, and FIT Alumna

Byron Lars, Fashion Designer, In Earnest, and FIT Alumnus

Fern Mallis, Creator, New York Fashion Week

Jennifer Walsh, Beauty Entrepreneur

Gary Wassner, CEO, Hilldun Corporation


Ken Downing, Chief Brand Officer, Hearst Luxury Collections Ecommerce, Hearst, and FIT Alumnus

Laure Heriard Dubreuil '01, Founder and Creative Director, The Webster

Stacy Flynn '99, CEO and Co-Founder, Evrnu SPC

Ralph Rucci '80, Fashion Designer, RR 331 LLC

Karin Tracy '93, Head of Industry, Retail, Fashion, Beauty, Luxury, Meta

2020 and 2021 Tracee Ellis Ross, Actress, Singer, Producer, Director, and Entrepreneur
2019 Tommy Hilfiger, Principal Designer, Tommy Hilfiger Global
2019 David Yurman, Jewelry Designer and Founder, David Yurman
2018 Chuck Hoberman, Designer, Engineer, Inventor, Innovator
2018 Lilliana Vazquez, Style Correspondent
2017 Essie Weingarten, Founder, Essie Cosmetics, Fashion Buying and Merchandising '70 
2016 Ivy Ross, Vice President and Head of Project Aura, Google, Inc.
2016 Joe Zee, Creative Director, Yahoo Style
2015 Marc J. Metrick, President, Saks Fifth Avenue
2015 Brooke Shields, Actor, Author, and Entrepreneur
2014  Bobbi Brown, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
2014  Christian Louboutin, Founder, Christian Louboutin SA 
2013 Fern Mallis, President, Fern Mallis LLC
2013 Rebecca Minkoff, Creative Director and Founder, Rebecca Minkoff LLC
2012 Leslie Blodgett, Executive Chair and Co-principal Executive Officer of Bare Escentuals Inc.
2012 Davin Stowell, Co-founder, CEO of Smart Design, Inc.
2011 Tony Hsieh, Chief Executive Officer of
2011 Aerin Lauder, Creative Director and Chairman of AERIN LLC and Style and Image Director of Estée Lauder
2010 Nina Garcia, Fashion Director, Marie Claire
2009 Annie Liebovitz, Photographer
2008 Katherine Betts, Editor, TIME Style & Design
2007 Stephen I. Sadove, CEO, Saks Incorporated
2006 John R. Ryan, Vice Admiral, USN (Ret.) and Chancellor, SUNY
2005 Charles Osgood, Anchor, CBS Sunday Morning and The Osgood File
2004 Robin Burns, President, Intimate Beauty Corporation
2003 Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief, Vogue
2002 Alec Baldwin, Actor
2001 Elsa Klensch, Producer and Host, Style with Elsa Klensch, CNN
1999 Shirley MacLaine, Actress, Dancer, Author, Director
1998 Anna Quindlen, Novelist and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
1997 Aaron M. Feuerstein, President and CEO, Malden Mills
1996 Martha Stewart, Editor in Chief and Chairman, Martha Stewart Living
1995 Norma Kamali, CEO, Norma Kamali, Inc.
1994 Sally Frame Kasaks, Chairman and CEO, Ann Taylor
1993 The Honorable Ruth W. Messinger, President, Borough of Manhattan
1992 Lawrence S. Phillips, Chairman and CEO, Phillips Van Heusen Corp.
1991 The Honorable David N. Dinkins, Mayor, City of New York
1990 John Weitz, Chairman, John Weitz, Inc.
1989 John J. Pomerantz, Trustee, FIT, Chairman and CEO, The Leslie Fay Cos.
1988 Jeffrey Banks, Trustee, FIT, President, Jeffrey Banks, Ltd.
1987 Oscar de la Renta, Fashion Designer
1986 Dr. Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., Chancellor, SUNY
1985 The Honorable Edward I. Koch, Mayor, City of New York
1984 Dr. Marvin Feldman, President, FIT
1983 Bill Blass, Fashion Designer
1982 Charles Osgood, WCBS Radio and TV Newscaster
1981 Peter G. Scotese, Trustee, FIT, Vice Chairman and CEO, Springs Mills, Inc.
1980 Jim Jensen, WCBS-TV News Anchorman
1979 The Honorable Edward I. Koch, Mayor, City of New York
1978 Newton Everett Godnick, Chairperson, Fashion Buying and Marketing
1977 Shirley Goodman, Executive Vice President, FIT
1976 Jerry Silverman, President, Jerry Silverman, Inc.
1975 Richard J. Schwartz, President, Jonathan Logan, Inc.
1974 Arniece Russell, Fashion Design 1972, Miss Black America 1974
1973 Marvin J. Feldman, President, FIT
1972 The Honorable Bella S. Abzug, Member of Congress, New York
1971 Eleanor Holmes Norton, Chairman, New York City Commission on Human Rights
1970 The Honorable Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney General, State of New York
1969 Dr. Lawrence L. Jarvie, President, FIT
1968 Dr. Lawrence L. Jarvie, President, FIT
1967 Dr. Lawrence L. Jarvie, President, FIT
1966 Dr. Lawrence L. Jarvie, President, FIT
1965 Dr. Lawrence L. Jarvie, General Superintendent of Community Education, Flint, Michigan
1964 Lawrence L. Bethel, President, FIT
1963 Lawrence L. Bethel, President, FIT
1962 David Schwartz, President, Educational Foundation for the Apparel Industry
1961 David Zelinka, Chairman, Educational Foundation for the Apparel Industry
1960 David Zelinka, Chairman, Educational Foundation for the Apparel Industry
1959 David Zelinka, Chairman, Educational Foundation for the Apparel Industry
1958 David Zelinka, Chairman, Educational Foundation for the Apparel Industry
1956 Dr. Lawrence L. Jarvie, Executive Dean, SUNY
1953 John J. Theobald, President, Queens College
1952 John R. Dunning, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Columbia University