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Elliot Lippin Background

Allow me a moment to tell you about a most unusual man. That man was Elliot Lippin and it was my honor and privilege to observe him closely as both my father and business partner. A man of humble beginnings, his own father died when he was 13. He grew up a poor kid on the streets of Brooklyn. As the oldest son he had to work to help his family survive the depression, and being a Jew he had to learn to use his fists and his wits to protect his friends and family from the neighborhood toughs. He once single handedly stood up to a gang threatening to kill his younger brother, staring them down and earning the respect and friendship of the gang leader. His intelligence and integrity combined with his diligent work ethic were a winning combination. He went on to be a successful craftsman, business owner, and leader in the fur business for over 50 years. In addition, his charm and passion so impressed the Board of Directors of Camp Sussex (a free camp for underprivileged inner city youth that Elliot attended when he was a child) they made him their President for close to 20 years. Never resting on his natural talents or successes, Elliot constantly worked to better himself. He had a lifelong passion for studying history and was a voracious reader. He started night school at C.W. Post in his 40’s ultimately earning his bachelors and masters degrees in history and graduating Magna Cum Laude. But this is merely the litany of some of his many accomplishments.

What was far more impressive was the character of the man himself. Elliot was generous with both his time and money. In addition to serving as President of Camp Sussex, he donated tens of thousands of dollars to dozens of other charities. And there was endless generosity outside of the public eye. I witnessed hundreds of incidents of Elliot helping both friends and strangers who were struggling. Nothing was too much, whether it was offers of money, advice, jobs, or just plain encouragement, never asking or expecting anything in return, and never growing cynical or discouraged when those he helped disappointed him. Elliot was the eternal optimist who chose to see the best in all of us.

So why a scholarship at the FIT Honors Program? Elliot had a passion for education. He loved to pass on his knowledge and unique insights. Whether it be lecturing at FIT on the history of the fur business (a subject on which he was an expert authority), or in his last years substitute teaching at the Stimpson Middle School where he loved to tell the kids to put away their books so he could tell them “what really happened”, Elliot knew that the way to break the cycle of poverty and ignorance was through the power of education. When you walk onto the FIT campus you can’t help but feel the excitement and creative energy. The school is a veritable melting pot of gender, race, and socio economic status where what counts is not who you are or where you come from but rather one’s talent, passion, and ideas. The students chosen for the FIT Honors Program are the best and brightest. At FIT they are nurtured and developed in ways that will lead to a renaissance of innovation and new business. By contributing to the Elliot Lippin Honors Program Scholarship you are not only honoring Elliot’s life work and values; you are also contributing to the personal and professional growth of these talented young people. The value of the investment you are making in the future success of our city and country is both significant and enduring.

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