Brandon Maxwell gives Zoom commencement for Stephens Collge

Brandon Maxwell gave a commencement speech to graduating Stephens College students. Maxwell is a fashion designer and judge on Project Runway. 

Project Runway judge and fashion designer Brandon Maxwell made it work at the Stephens College toast to seniors Saturday.

Saturday was supposed to be commencement for graduating seniors. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony was pushed back to August, but graduates still got the chance to celebrate with a senior toast over Zoom. 

To their surprise, though, they were joined by Maxwell, whose "hallmark style of sharp tailoring and sculptural details" has been worn by celebrities like Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, Oprah and Blake Lively, according to his website. 

Maxwell congratulated the seniors on their accomplishments and creativity. He also acknowledged the parents for helping their kids reach this point. 

"Cheers to you. It takes a lot to raise a creative child, and happy Mother's Day to all the moms," Maxwell said, according to a news release from the college.

Taylor Jones, a fashion marketing and management graduate, said she met Maxwell when he visited the college in October as part of the Jeannene Booher lecture series. Since the college already had his contact information, a student was able to reach him and ask him to participate in the call. 

"He's a very amazing person, he's very inspiring, so I was super pumped to get to hear from him again," Jones said. 

Maxwell could only stay for about 15 minutes, Jones said, but he made the most of that time. He updated everyone on how he was doing in quarantine, told a story about almost selling his business before finding success and gave the students some inspirational words.

"He talked about how we are the future, we shouldn't give up and that he is so excited to see what we're going to do after graduation," Jones said.  

The Stephens College Careers Instagram account shared a story thanking Maxwell for attending. He then reposted the story on his own account, where he has more than 600,000 followers. 

Stephens College will hold in-person commencements for graduate and undergraduate students on August 28 and 29

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Public life reporter, spring 2020. Studying print and digital news journalism. Reach me at skylarlaird@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

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