Press Release / May 30

Hermès North America CEO Robert Chavez, Carson Kressley, Bernard Chan Address SCAD 2019 Graduates


Preeminent art and design university hosts commencement for largest-ever graduating class, bestows honorary degree to Walt Disney Company creative visionary

SAVANNAH, GA., May 30, 2019 — The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) today announced that Robert Chavez, Hermès of Paris, Inc. president and CEO of the Americas, will address the SCAD Savannah graduating class during commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 31. The following day, Saturday, June 1, author and television style expert, Carson Kressley, will speak to the 2019 graduates at SCAD Atlanta. Prominent local dignitary Bernard Chan will address SCAD Hong Kong graduates on Saturday, June 8.

"SCAD celebrates our 40th year with the graduation of our largest class ever — nearly 2,900 creative professionals are entering the workforce," said SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace. "Celebrations will be held in Savannah, Atlanta, and Hong Kong. While we say goodbye to the Bees of '19, we never say adieu — we say au revoir. SCAD is family, after all! I can't wait to see what each of these SCAD grads accomplishes next, and to invite them back to share their many successes with future generations. Once a Bee, always a Bee!"

Chavez, leader of the French luxury goods label Hermès' Western operations, will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters prior to his commencement addresses at 1 p.m. Chavez, with Hermès since 2000, brought the first Hermès Boutique for Men to New York in 2010. He continues to represent the luxury house's core values of quality, consistency, creativity and innovation throughout the world. In 2002, SCAD collaborated with Hermès to create a series of exclusive scarves based on art work by SCAD students.

Kressley, an Emmy Award-winning American television personality, actor, designer and New York Times best-selling author, will address Atlanta's graduating class at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. The fashion expert on Queer Eye, Dancing with the Stars contestant, RuPaul's Drag Race judge, and star of Bravo's Get a Room will accept an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Chan, a Hong Kong politician and successful businessman, will speak with SCAD Hong Kong 2019 graduates at 12 p.m., Saturday, June 8. Chan currently serves as the convenor of Hong Kong's Executive Council and will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. SCAD will also bestow an honorary degree to Alan Au-Yeung, vice president of creative at Walt Disney Co. SCAD students won Walt Disney's Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition the past two consecutive years.

  • The SCAD Class of 2019 is the largest in the university's history, with more than 2,900 graduates to cross the stage in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Hong Kong. This year, SCAD achieved record enrollment of 15,000 students across its international locations.
  • SCAD students consistently secure creative careers upon graduation. 99 percent of SCAD Spring 2018 graduates were employed, pursuing further education or both within 10 months of graduation.
  • SCAD has more than 40,000 graduates living and working in 70 countries. This includes alumni who create thermal blankets for NASA space missions, act in award-winning Netflix shows, design costumes worn by Lady Gaga at the 2018 Grammy Awards, and design furniture for Anthropologie.

Follow commencement activities on Twitter and Instagram using #SCAD2019.


About Robert Chavez

Robert Chavez, Hermès of Paris, Inc. president and CEO of the Americas, has been with the company since 2000. Prior to this role, Chavez served as the chief executive officer at Etienne Aigner, and held various positions with R.H. Macy & Co. He also previously served as an independent director of Aéropostale. Chavez is originally from San Antonio, and graduated from Princeton University before completing the executive training program for Bloomingdale's in New York City upon graduation.

About Carson Kressley

Emmy-Award winning TV personality, style expert, fashion designer and New York Times best-selling author are some of the credits of the multi-talented and unforgettable Carson Kressley. Kressley started his career as an independent stylist and became an asset for major designers like Ralph Lauren. He became a breakout star on Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, collaborated with Oprah Winfrey, starred in OWN Network's Carson-Nation, hosted multiple TV shows including Lifetime's How to Look Good Naked, ABC's True Beauty and competed on several reality competitions shows such as Dancing With The Stars. Currently, Kressley is one of the key judges for VH1/Logo-TV series Emmy-award winning RuPaul's Drag Race. Recently, Carson re-connected with his Queer Eye alum Thom Filicia, for the new fan favorite interior design show, Get A Room with Carson and Thom, which premiered on Bravo Networks in October.

About Bernard Chan

Bernard Chan is the President of both Asia Financial Holdings and Asia Insurance, which has gained a reputation as one of the financially strongest insurers in Hong Kong. He is also an advisor to Bangkok Bank (China) Co Ltd. In January 2008, Bernard was elected to the National People's Congress, the highest organ of state power in China, in which he is one of 36 Hong Kong deputies. From October 2004 to January 2009 Bernard was a non-official member of the Executive Council, Hong Kong's highest policy making body. He was appointed as a non-official member of the Exco again in July 2012, and was appointed Convenor of the Non-Official Members of the Executive Council in 2017.

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited university offering more than 100 academic degree programs in more than 40 majors across its locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Hong Kong; Lacoste, France; and online via SCAD eLearning. SCAD enrolls nearly 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 100 countries. The innovative SCAD curriculum is enhanced by advanced professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources, as well as opportunities for internships, professional certifications and collaborative projects with corporate partners. In 2018, the prestigious Red Dot Design Rankings placed SCAD as the No. 1 university in the U.S. and in the top two universities in the Americas and Europe. Career preparation is woven into every fiber of the university, resulting in a superior alumni employment rate. According to a recent study, 99 percent of Spring 2017 SCAD graduates were employed, pursuing further education or both within 10 months of graduation.

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