Phillip Lim to Be Awarded Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts From California State University, Long Beach

Dr. Lim, I presume? Phillip Lim will be receiving an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from his alma mater, California State University, Long Beach, in May.

Lim posted the official letter from Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D. and president of the university, on Instagram, who wrote, “Congratulations on being selected for this prestigious and well-deserved honor! As a much-admired Beach alumnus who has demonstrated intellectual, artistic and humane values that are consistent with the aims of higher education and with the highest ideals of your chosen fields of endeavor, you serve as an example of the university’s aspirations for its diverse student body.”

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The degree, which will be conferred at the university’s commencement ceremonies, will be given “in recognition of your entrepreneurial vision, your pioneering contributions to design, and your enduring status as a leader in American fashion,” wrote Conoley.

Reached for comment, Lim told WWD, “I am truly honored and humbled to be receiving this honorary doctorate from my alma mater, Cal State Long Beach. I have finally realized my immigrant parents’ ‘holy grail dream’ of having one of their children become a ‘Doctor.'”

Lim said he was originally enrolled in CSULB’s business school, but dropped out to pursue a degree in family and consumer sciences (formerly known as home economics). “I didn’t dare tell my parents at the time because this was not what they envisioned for me, but I knew I could not continue to pursue a dream that was not mine,” he said.

“This is a testament to pursuing what brings you joy and making sure you live a life that is true to you. This is a full circle moment, and to my parents, it took a little longer, but we got here in the end!” said Lim.

An American designer who was born in Thailand, Lim is the son of a seamstress and a professional poker player. Lim co-founded 3.1 Phillip Lim in the fall of 2005 with his friend and business partner Wen Zhou. The CFDA awarded Lim the 2007 award for Emerging Talent in Womenswear for his work for 3.1 Phillip Lim. In 2012, he received the CFDA’s Swarovski award for Menswear, and in 2013, he won Accessories Designer of the Year.

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