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Vera Wang to give 2013 Sarah Lawrence College commencement address
Good news for the Sarah Lawrence College class of 2013: They will be addressed by one of their own. Fashion designer and college alumnus Vera Wang has been tapped to give the commencement speech at this year’s graduation ceremony, taking place Friday morning on the college campus in Bronxville/Yonkers.
Wang, who graduated in 1971, originally enrolled at Sarah Lawrence as a pre-med student, but switched to studying theater and art history. After graduating, she went on to become a noted fashion designer best known for her haute couture line of wedding gowns, which have been worn by high-profile celebrities.
Sarah Lawrence College president Karen R. Lawrence said the designer was chosen to speak this year because she “exemplifies the creativity, discipline, and passion of our graduates ... We’re immensely proud to welcome back to Sarah Lawrence our 1971 alumna whose intelligence and incredible work ethic have enabled her to transform both fashion and design.”
As for what Wang will share with the class of 2013, Wang told Woman’s Wear Daily on Wednesday that the tenor of her speech is “very philosophical, but hopefully it’s a bit realistic.” She also said that it will emphasize that graduates be both adaptable and flexible.
“In this world,” she said, “the ability for reinvention is key for survival, even if you are a stay-at-home mom.” (While not a stay-at-home, Wang has two daughters with former husband Arthur Becker.)
Wang, a Pound Ridge resident whose parents emigrated to the United States from China, said she would also address issues related to diversity.
“Everyone is different, whether that be different ethnicities, upbringings, education or anything else,” Wang added. “Without diversity, the world is very judgmental and very limiting. Different people bring different things to each situation. These have really been the tenets of [Sarah Lawrence College] from Day One.”
Other Hudson Valley celebs have also given commencement speeches this month. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, a Grand View-on-Hudson resident, addressed the graduates of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and former President Bill Clinton, a Chappaqua resident, spoke at Howard University in Washington. More recently, he accepted a SUNY honorary degree at Westchester Community College in Valhalla last week.