2019 Commencement Speakers

Julia Fishman

Chief Fashion Critic of The New York Times Vanessa Friedman Will Address Undergraduates on May 25

Tech Executive and Marist Alumnus Henry Helgeson Will Address Adult Undergraduate and Graduate Students on May 24

April 8, 2019—Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic for The New York Times, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address to the Marist class of 2019 on Saturday, May 25.

Friedman leads global fashion coverage for both The New York Times and New York Times International Edition on all platforms. Prior to joining the newspaper she was the inaugural fashion editor of the Financial Times, and also a regular contributor to Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly. She is the author of Emilio Pucci as well as an honorary professor at Glasgow-Caledonian University. She was the recipient of the 2012 Front Page Award for fashion writing, as well as the 2013 Fashion Monitor Journalist of the Year award.

“We are so pleased to welcome Vanessa Friedman to campus next month,” said President David Yellen. “With the high caliber of Marist’s programs in fashion and communications, Vanessa is a perfect choice to deliver this year’s commencement address.”

In keeping with the College’s tradition of having an alumnus deliver the address to adult undergraduates and graduate students, Marist is welcoming entrepreneur Henry Helgeson ’96 to the ceremony on Friday, May 24. 

Helgeson founded Cayan, a payment technology company whose flagship payment acceptance product, Genius®, is used at tens of thousands of leading retailers and businesses throughout the United States. As CEO, he grew the company from a boot-strap startup to a dominant player in the U.S. payment market.  In 2018, the company was sold for over $1 billion dollars to global payment leader TSYS. Currently, Helgeson serves as TSYS’ Executive Vice President of Integrated Solutions. 

Helgeson has spoken at numerous events and conferences including ETA, Money2020, RSPA Retail Now, SXSW, and In 2012, he received the ETA Member of the Year Award, recognizing his contributions to the future success of the industry and he has been named to the Boston Business Journal’s  “40 under 40” list.  He is also an active angle and VC investor in the payment and technology sectors.  

“I’m delighted to welcome Henry back to Marist for this occasion,” noted President Yellen.  “I am certain his remarks will be inspiring for our adult and graduate students as they continue on their own paths to fulfilling careers.” 

Both ceremonies for the 73rd Commencement Exercises will be held on the Campus Green. For more information, visit the Commencement webpage.

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