What a wonderful evening! Our annual gala in early June, which drew over 600 high-spirited people to Cipriani, honored three very loyal friends of FIT: our own trustees Joan Hornig and Dr. Jay Baker, as well as Linda Fargo, senior vice president of Bergdorf Goodman.
The room was beautiful, enhanced by the tall exotic multi-colored birds perched everywhere that were created by students in our Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design program. But what turned the room electric was the great warmth that the audience felt towards our honorees. And as they made their individual remarks, they did not disappoint!
Linda Fargo was introduced by the witty Alber Elbaz–and the affection between the two of them was palpable. It was a pleasure to hear her own delightful account of her journey from the suburbs of Milwaukee to the pinnacle of fashion success in New York City.
Joan Hornig’s husband George did the tribute to his wife and surprised her with the announcement of a $100,000 scholarship fund for a jewelry design student in her name– as his own gift to her. We all were moved, but no one more so than Joan, I think. Joan is a jewelry designer who turns the proceeds from her work to charitable organizations of the purchasers’ choice; there is no question but that her husband knew exactly the kind of gift that would please her most.
Jay Baker, wearing a uniquely festive sparkling tie, hosted more than 30 of his “Baker Scholars,” students who have received scholarships from him since 2001, when he contributed an unprecedented $10 million to the college. Two Baker scholars did his presentation–both very gracious and grateful. And Jay, in his upbeat and exuberant remarks, surprised all of us by announcing a $1 million gift to the college.
The audience was attentive and enthusiastically responsive to our honorees as they made their remarks–contributing to the warm and joyful ambiance throughout the room. And thanks to the great hearts and generosity of all in attendance and especially to George and Jay, the college raised $2.5 million. As I said–a wonderful evening!