Retail Pioneer and Entrepreneur Robert Fisch Advances Commitment to Intergenerational Mentoring Through Launch of FIT Graduate Student Award Program

Includes Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Thesis Project Completion Grants, and Scholarships for FIT's Fashion Design MFA and Global Fashion Management MPS Programs
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 8:44 AM AKDT

NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a college of the State University of New York (SUNY), announced that Robert (Bob) Fisch, founder and former chairman and CEO of rue21, award-winning author of Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer, and FIT Foundation director, launched the Bob Fisch Graduate Student Award Program.

FIT Logo (PRNewsfoto/Fashion Institute of Technology)
FIT Logo (PRNewsfoto/Fashion Institute of Technology)

The program, which includes a $300,000 gift and an intergenerational mentoring strategy, features an award for entrepreneurial excellence, thesis project grants, and graduate scholarships for students in FIT's Fashion Design MFA and Global Fashion Management MPS programs. Fisch – widely recognized as a pioneering merchant for his bold and successful innovations in value-priced, fast fashion retailing – will mentor students for an extraordinary one-on-one experience.

"Thanks to Bob's commitment to nurturing creativity in the next generation of industry leaders, FIT is the proud recipient of this $300,000 gift," said FIT president, Dr. Joyce F. Brown.  "It will establish an unprecedented series of opportunities that will benefit students in our graduate Global Fashion Management and Fashion Design programs."

"I am delighted to present this gift to FIT to help nurture the careers of future leaders in the retail space," Fisch said. "As the leading college of its kind in America, FIT serves as a major talent pipeline, which I hope to help enrich through the establishment of this new program. I'm a firm believer in the benefits of intergenerational bonding and mutual mentoring as there is much I can learn from the students' questions and curiosity, just as they can learn from my answers and experience. I teach them business … they teach me life."

The program includes:

  • A $25,000 award for entrepreneurial excellence, given to one standout recipient for the best business plan and design presented during the graduate capstone ceremony.
  • Ten graduate scholarships for academic excellence, awarded to students in the Global Fashion Management and Fashion Design programs.
  • Thirty-three thesis-project completion grants for students in the Global Fashion Management MPS and Fashion Design MFA programs.

In addition to establishing this awards program, Fisch is also an active member of the FIT Foundation, guest lecturer, and mentor/advisor at FIT. Under Fisch's leadership, rue21 was also the subject of FIT's Fashion Merchandising Capstone Project in 2016.

To find out more, please visit FIT.

About FIT:
A part of the State University of New York, FIT has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology throughout its history. Providing almost 9,000 students with an uncommon blend of hands-on, practical experience, theory, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, the college offers a wide range of affordable programs that foster innovation and collaboration. Its distinctive curriculum is geared to today's rapidly growing creative economy, including fields such as computer animation, toy design, production management, film and media, and cosmetics and fragrance marketing. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers nearly 50 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the new creative economy. Among notable alumni in fashion are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Norma Kamali, Reem Acra, Brian Atwood, Dennis Basso, Francisco Costa, Nanette Lepore, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ralph Rucci, John Bartlett, Peter Do, and Michelle Smith. Other prominent graduates include Leslie Blodgett, creator of bareMinerals; international restaurant designer Tony Chi; and Nina Garcia, editor in chief, Elle.

About The FIT Foundation:
As the primary fundraising arm for FIT, the FIT Foundation supports and celebrates fearless innovation, inclusivity, and unabashed creativity. Since 1944, the FIT Foundation has advanced the mission of the college and its strategic goals by preparing students to fuel the future of fashion, business, design, technology, and the arts. Serving as a bridge between donors and FIT's schools, departments, and programs, the foundation strives to inspire and empower the vibrant community of FIT friends, students, alumni, faculty, and industry leaders. Through scholarship development, industry engagement, and programs and events with social impact, the foundation is dedicated to the following core mandates: igniting thought leadership, fostering ingenuity and exploration, and helping FIT lead the next generation of unconventional minds into the new creative economy.

About Bob Fisch:
Robert Fisch is recognized as a pioneering merchant for his bold and successful innovations in value-priced, fast fashion retailing, notably at rue21. Bob is the founder and former chairman and CEO of rue21, and took the company from bankruptcy to a fast-track winning streak that included a hot-stock IPO, building a national network of 1,200 stores, and a billion-dollar plus value. Bob's proven management practices and motivational skills have resulted in a unique mutual-mentoring relationship with Millennials in the workplace. He formed a Millennial Advisory board to serve as a consulting body for his 2019 book release, Fisch Tales: The Making of a Millennial Baby Boomer, which led him to becoming a featured Forbes published author. Additionally, Bob owns the registration and intellectual property for Millennial Baby Boomer (MBB) and is continuing to build on this brand. Bob is currently president of RNF Group, a consulting company focused on the assessment and evaluation of retail and other business enterprises, as well as providing mentoring services to existing management of these companies. Bob has been a guest lecturer and mentor/advisor at FIT, which chose rue21 as the subject of the school's Fashion Business Management Capstone for extensive study by the senior class in 2016, and earlier this year he was a guest speaker/presenter for Global Fashion Management, presenting his mutual and reverse mentoring strategy based on the Millennial Baby Boomer brand.

Media contact: Alexandra Mann, Media Relations Manager, alexandra_mann@fitnyc.edu, 212-217-4700

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SOURCE Fashion Institute of Technology

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