Nearly 700 beauty industry executives gathered inside the Haft Auditorium at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Chelsea Wednesday evening, June 26. All were there to attend one of the year’s most anticipated events: FIT’s Capstone research initiative. The presentation, created by the 2024 graduating class of the master’s program in Cosmetics & Fragrance Marketing & Management (CFMM), explored “Beauty & Accessibility” and the next wave of inclusivity in the beauty industry.

Indeed, the audience was captivated by the students’ content and data, but many were also buzzing about the 25th anniversary of Stephan Kanlian, FIT’s Chairperson/Professor, Master’s Program: CFMM.

Kanlian, a much loved and revered member of the educational and beauty industry, has steered the careers of many of today’s beauty leaders by championing the program at FIT.

“His commitment to excellence as well as his passion for innovation will continue to be a driving force shaping the future of the industry. His guidance has shaped the careers of many industry leaders,” said Carlotta Jacobson, President of CEW, who attended the event.

“Passion is at the heart of his approach to education. His enthusiasm for the cosmetic industry is infectious, inspiring students and colleagues alike. He believes in the transformative power of knowledge and its ability to elevate the industry. This passion extends beyond the classroom; he has been a vocal advocate for innovation and creativity, encouraging others to push boundaries and explore new possibilities,” Jacobson continued.

Her sentiments were echoed by several of Kanlian’s past students, who are now successful beauty executives themselves.

Tennille Kopiasz, CEO at Blue Mistral, attended Wednesday’s program and documented on LinkedIn how the event marked 20 years since she had graduated from FIT.

“To Stephan Kanlian, congratulations on yet another successful Capstone and your 25-year milestone of ongoing dedication to elevate this program to be the globally renowned industry think tank that it is and your commitment to cultivate the next generation of beauty talent. A genuine thank you for being my career champion and a mentor in life. I love giving back to the program you have passionately built,” she wrote.

Larissa Jensen, SVP, Global Industry Advisor, Circana, was also among the event’s attendees.

“I was delighted to join Kate Foster Lengyel [Co-founder, CEO, The Outset] and Tennille Kopiasz, as representatives of the Class of 2004, in kicking off this year’s Capstone presentations, two decades after our own,” Jensen wrote on LinkedIn.

The graduating class of 2024 was special to Jensen as it marked the first group of students she taught as an Adjunct Professor.

“I also want to recognize Stephan and all he has done to elevate this extraordinary program and its students and alumni for the past 25 years. The huge success of CFMM is a testament to his visionary leadership. Personally, I am most grateful that he has become a dear friend and trusted advisor to me over the years,” she wrote.