The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Foundation Board of Directors appointed FIT alumna and fashion designer Madeline Gardner to its 28-member board. Gardner has been an active member of the FIT community since graduating in 1979, and has served as principal designer for the New York– based occasionwear firm Morilee for 38 years, shaping the historic brand’s aesthetic and vision.

“I’m honored to be joining the FIT Foundation Board of Directors,” said Gardner. “FIT has always stood as a testament to the power of a strong education that focuses as much on innovation and social awareness as it does on technical skill. This is an incredible opportunity to help guide the next generation FIT students and strengthen a school that has played such a large part in my life and career.”

 “As a renowned designer and distinguished alumna of FIT, Madeline Gardner will be a great asset to the board,” said Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of the college. “Her career experience combined with her interest and support of our students will be significant factors in her contributions to the success of our board, and we look forward to working with her.”    

“We are very pleased to welcome Madeline Gardner to the FIT Foundation Board of Directors,” said Douglas Hand, board chair. “As both an alumna and industry visionary, Madeline’s contributions to the board will no doubt be instrumental in advancing the mission of FIT.

In addition to her board appointment, a Madeline Gardner Scholarship has been designated. This $30,000 scholarship, spanning three years at $10,000 annually, will support one student each year in the Fashion Design program in the School of Art and Design.

The first recipient of the Madeline Gardner Scholarship is Fashion Design student SooYeon Sim, presented during Morilee's recently celebrated 70th anniversary event during New York Luxury Bridal Fashion Week held at Carnegie Hall that also included an homage to its seven decades of design.

“My passion for bridal and evening wear extends beyond personal interest; it fuels my career aspirations,” said Sim. “I aim to create bridal and evening wear collections that reflect the spirit of our times, incorporating sustainability, diversity, and inclusivity. I aspire to contribute to an industry that celebrates individuality and empowers individuals to feel confident on their most important occasions."

The primary fundraising arm for FIT 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 the college’s     schools, departments, and programs, the foundation strives to inspire and empower the vibrant community of FIT friends, students, alumni, faculty, and industry leaders.

The FIT Foundation board’s 28 members are Douglas Hand, chair, Adam Banfield, David Casey, Tom Chu, Lisa Clyde, Frederic Dechnik, Muge Erdirik Dogan, Abbey Doneger, Gigi Ganatra Duff, Eric Fisch, Robert Fisch, Madeline Gardner, Morris Goldfarb, Maloni Goss, Geoffrey Greenberg, Sam Haddad, Sarah Curtis Henry, Jane Hertzmark Hudis, Dayna Isom Johnson, Allison Lee, Laurence C. Leeds, Jr., Fern Mallis, Alex Montefalco, Corey Moran, Bruce P. Rockowitz, J. Michael Stanley, Molly Taylor, and Amber Valletta.

Designer Madeline Gardner (left) and Morilee CEO Terri Eagle (right) present Soo Yeon Sim with the inaugural Madeline Gardner FIT scholarship award during Morilee's 70th Anniversary event held in October at New York's Carnegie Hall.