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FIT to Salute William P. Lauder and William Dillard III at Annual Benefit Gala

Cheri Fein, executive director, Public and Media Relations
press@fitnyc.edu, 212-217-4700

Two People, Two Companies, One College Make a Difference

Each Honoree’s Father Will Present Award to the Other Honoree’s Son

FIT Students Present Packaging Design for Estée Lauder Fragrance  

In recognition of their leadership in the retail industry, William P. Lauder, executive chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and William T. Dillard III, vice president, Dillard’s, Inc., will be honored by the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and the FIT Foundation at the college’s annual benefit gala on Thursday, March 15, 2012, at Cipriani, 110 East 42 Street, New York City. The cocktail reception will begin at 6:30 pm, with dinner at 7:30 pm.

During dinner, FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Brown will welcome the honorees and guests. Leonard A. Lauder, chairman emeritus, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and father of William P. Lauder, will present the award to Mr. Dillard. William T. Dillard II, chairman and CEO, Dillard’s, Inc. and father of William T. Dillard III, will present Mr. Lauder with his award. Singer/songwriter Natasha Bedingfield will perform.

This is one of the largest and most important events on the fashion industry’s annual calendar. The gala benefits the FIT Educational Development Fund, which provides scholarship, technology, and student services support, among other priorities.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to honor both William P. Lauder and William Dillard III – two of this country’s premier industry leaders,” said Dr. Brown. “We also are delighted to be able to keep it all in the family by having our honorees’ fathers join us in this salute. Through their vision, expertise, and wisdom, both honorees have added significantly to the success of the companies started by their families. And both are strong advocates of education – and valued friends of FIT.”

As a special feature of this year’s gala, 28 FIT Packaging Design majors were challenged to design a new package for pleasures, the iconic fragrance from Estée Lauder. A team of judges from Estée Lauder and Dillard’s will select the winner, who will receive a monetary prize, and a selection of the students’ designs will be on display at the gala.

William P. Lauder has served as executive chairman and chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies since July 2009. Prior to that, he was chief executive officer for five years, during which time he expanded the company’s international presence and distribution channels and strengthened the brand portfolio.

Mr. Lauder joined The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. in 1986 as regional marketing director of Clinique U.S.A. in the New York metro area. In 1990, he led the creation of the Origins brand and its innovative store-within-a store concept. He subsequently was promoted to several senior leadership positions, led the worldwide businesses for Clinique and Origins, and oversaw the company’s freestanding stores and internet business. In 2003, he became chief operating officer, with responsibility for the company’s global operations as well as nine specialty brands and the retail business.

Under his leadership, Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion became the best-selling prestige skin care product in U.S. department stores, and Clinique launched its first anti-aging product.

As vice president of Dillard’s, Inc., William Dillard III is responsible for accessories, beauty, intimate apparel and home merchandise. Mr. Dillard began his career with the company in its Phoenix regional division office in 1993. He later moved to Hong Kong and joined William E. Connor Associates, a sourcing firm for manufacturing and retail companies, where he gained international experience. Returning to Dillard’s, he worked in sales, buying, area sales management, product development, and merchandising before assuming his present position.

Tickets for the benefit gala range from $1,000 for a Patron ticket to $100,000 as a Platinum benefactor for a table of ten and a full-page platinum ad in the dinner journal. For detailed information on purchasing tickets, contact Vicki Guranowski at 212 217.4105 or victoria_guranowski@fitnyc.edu.

Members of the press who would like to cover the event should contact Cheri Fein at 212 217.4718 or cheri_fein@fitnyc.edu.

About The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products, with sales in over 150 countries and territories under the following brand names: Estée Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Lab Series, Origins, M•A•C, Bobbi Brown, Tommy Hilfiger, Kiton, La Mer, Donna Karan, Aveda, Jo Malone, Bumble and bumble, Darphin, Michael Kors, American Beauty, Flirt!, GoodSkin Labs, Grassroots Research Labs, Sean John, Missoni, Tom Ford, Coach, Ojon, Smashbox and Ermenegildo Zegna.

About Dillard’s, Inc.

Dillard’s, Inc. is one of the nation's largest fashion specialty retailers offering compelling apparel, cosmetics, and home selections complemented by premium customer care. Dillard’s stores feature a broad selection of revered brands from both national and exclusive sources. The Company operates 288 Dillard’s locations and 16 clearance centers spanning 29 states plus an Internet store at www.dillards.com.

FIT and The FIT Foundation

FIT is a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology, with a wide range of programs that are affordable and relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Part of the State University of New York, the college offers more than 45 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees. Visit fitnyc.edu.

Organized in 1944, the FIT Foundation is a private foundation that serves as a fundraising and advisory body to FIT. Its membership includes leaders from management in fashion and related industries who also offer expertise and opportunities to students.  

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