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Kenneth Cole to Give Commencement Address at Endicott College

He will give his address on May 20.


Next month Kenneth Cole will give the commencement address at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Cole will speak to the graduating seniors at Endicott’s 83rd commencement ceremony on campus at Hempstead Stadium on May 20 at 10 a.m. During the ceremony, Cole will be presented with an honorary degree in recognition of his groundbreaking fashion, philanthropic and advocacy work.

“More than a designer, Kenneth Cole is an engaged social advocate and philanthropist who has devoted his life and storied career to making people not only look good but feel good by fighting for a more equitable world,” said Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D., president of Endicott College. “He represents the most powerful qualities of an Endicott College education and will share inspirational words with the Class of 2023.”

In 1982, Cole founded his own company, Kenneth Cole Productions, which began as a footwear company and has become a global lifestyle brand. He launched his company’s first HIV and AIDS public service campaign in 1985. Two years later, he joined amfAR’s board of directors and remained on the board for 30 years and served as chairman for 14. Throughout his career, Cole has campaigned for and been an outspoken activist for voting rights, AIDS awareness and research, gender equity, gun safety and homelessness. In 2017, he received the CFDA’s Swarovski Award for Positive Change.

In 2019, Cole founded The Mental Health Coalition, which comprises leading mental health organizations, brands and individuals who have joined forces to end mental health stigma and change how people talk about and care for mental illness.

“I am proud to have been invited to address the Endicott College Class of 2023,” said Cole. “Students graduating this year endured an unprecedented level of disruption during their college experience; with a reimagined post-COVID-19 world and technology moving at a speed like never before. I feel that we are in a pivotal and defining moment in time, and these students are uniquely prepared to be the change we all need,” he said.

A graduate of Emory University, Cole has previously spoken during commencement at such universities as Northeastern University, Emory (Class Day speaker), and Merrimack.


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