FIT Gala Celebrates Industry and Students

FIT’s 2014 gala, on June 9, drew more than 600 of fashion’s boldface names to Cipriani 42nd Street and raised more than $2.5 million for the college’s Educational Development Fund. On view in the festive space were fabulous feathered creatures that Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students had created. Their extraordinary work set the stage for an event that celebrated the industry and FIT, but in the end was about all the students who benefit from an FIT education.
Three industry VIPs were honored: Jay H. Baker, FIT trustee, chair of the FIT Foundation, and former Kohl’s president; Linda Fargo, senior vice president of the fashion office and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman; and jewelry designer, philanthropist, and FIT trustee Joan B. Hornig.

Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz presented Fargo’s award, calling her a “rare pearl in the fashion industry…. a dreamer, but also a doer” who pushes people to excellence. Hornig’s husband, George, surprised her by establishing an endowed scholarship in her name; their $100,000 gift will aid Jewelry Design students.
Accepting his award, Baker said that often the only thing standing between a creative young person and an education is financial means, and he announced a gift of $1 million. In 2001, Baker and his wife, Patty, madea $10 million donation—still the largest gift to FIT—part of which funds the Baker Scholars program for students in the School of Business and Technology; in 2005, the school was named for the Bakers in recognition of their continuing generosity. Two scholars—a current student and an alumna—presented Jay Baker’s award. Almost 40 Baker Scholars past and present attended the event, demonstrating their lasting affection for the Bakers, who stay closely involved with these students.
The evening closed with the scholars gathered for a photo with Baker and his wife, leaving guests with a vision of FIT’s best and brightest—and of those who help secure their future.