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Neiman Marcus Executive Vice President Neva Hall (Class of 1974) Gives Keynote Address at LIM College Commencement

Neiman Marcus Executive Vice President of Stores Neva Hall, a member of LIM College’s Class of 1974, gave the 2015 graduates of LIM College “Neva’s Nine,” her guide for life and business, in her keynote address at the College’s 76th Commencement exercises on May 26 at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Ms. Hall was also presented with LIM College’s Distinguished Achievement Award and an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree at the ceremony.

Said Hall, who will mark 32 years with Neiman Marcus next month, “I have been blessed with myriad opportunities in retail, and have worked with some of the best retailers in the world. But it all started at LIM, which prepared me for the workforce.”

She stressed the importance of finding a mentor. “Learn from someone who has found success. Retailing icon Stanley Marcus was a relentless merchant and marketer, and he was my first mentor at Neiman Marcus. More than anything, he shared his time and his latest thoughts on retailing with me. He coached me about how to think about the business. He invested in many of us long after he retired. Over the years, other mentors guided my career and lent wisdom. Each reinforced what I learned from Mr. Stanley: retailing is mass minutiae — you make and keep your customers by remembering the details.”

Nearly 500 graduates make up the Class of 2015, the largest in LIM College’s history. They received Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Professional Studies (MPS), bachelor’s and associate degrees.

In what has become an annual tradition, representatives from previous LIM College graduating classes marched in the Commencement procession and were seated on stage. The College also presented the Maxwell F. Marcuse Award to Doug Jakubowski, President - North America, FitFlop. Named for LIM’s founder, the award recognizes an LIM College graduate who has reached the pinnacle of success within the business of fashion. Jakubowski is a member of the Class of 1983 and has served on LIM College’s Fashion Industry Advisory Board since 2004.

The valedictorian of LIM College’s undergraduate Class of 2015 was Courtney Vander Linden, a native of Spokane, WA. Ms. Vander Linden launched her career in December of 2014 with Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco, CA as an Assistant Merchant & Marketing Manager for Levi's Global Kids Licensing.

Erica Infantolino (Class of 2003), Vice President, Store Manager for Macy’s Menlo Park received the Shining Star alumni award and Bianca Caampued (Class of 2007), co-founder and Creative Director of Small Girls PR, received the Rising Star alumni award.

President Marcuse told the graduates, “Success means different things to different people. Too often in our society, when we hear the word ‘success,’ we equate it solely with material things. Money, a fancy car, a big home. Yet to be truly be successful you must not only earn a salary, you must also nourish your soul. Presumably, you chose to attend LIM College because you have a passion for some aspect of the business of fashion. As the years pass, it will become necessary for you to find ways to stay connected to that passion, and if you develop new passions that inspire you professionally, don’t be afraid to follow them and see where they lead. Ultimately, it is up to you — not your parents, not your professors, not your peers — to define what success means in your own life.”