NEW YORK — Elizabeth S. Marcuse, the 49-year-old president of LIM College, has found herself at home in the world of academia.
Over the past 10 years, Marcuse has built a team at the New York City-based college that has allowed her to focus on the big picture. That includes making its students more globally and technologically competitive and responding to what the fashion industry needs from its workforce in the 21st century.
“I learned very early on in my career that there was no ‘I’ in team. I’d say one of my proudest accomplishments is the team that we cultivated and developed here,” said Marcuse, who spent 20 years in the fashion industry before joining LIM. Prior to succeeding her father, Adrian G. Marcuse, as president in 2002, she was director of retail planning at Donna Karan International, and before that was director of retail planning at Mamiye Sales Inc., a children’s wear manufacturer. Earlier, she was a buyer at Lane Bryant and Montgomery Ward and began her career in the executive training program at Macy’s.
LIM College, which was originally known as the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, was founded by Marcuse’s grandfather, Maxwell F. Marcuse, in 1939. He set up a mock store, and experiential learning became the backbone of the institution. The original mission was to establish a school for women to be trained in skills other than secretarial. Its first graduating class had 79 women. Today, there are 1,480 undergraduates and 73 graduate students. The institution’s tag line is “Where Business Meets Fashion,” and the curriculum focuses on fashion merchandising, visual merchandising, marketing and management.
In addition to dramatically increasing the enrollment, Marcuse has strengthened the administration. She recently reintroduced an executive vice president position. Christopher J. Cyphers, former president of the New York School of Interior Design, serves in that role. She also hired a new vice president of academic affairs, Milan Milasinovic, who oversees both the undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as named a new associate dean for experiential education and career management, Dudley Blossom.
Marcuse said that the school continues to evolve and change over time. “We relooked at where the holes were and what did we need to do to strengthen, and what do we need to do to remain nimble,” she said. LIM has added to its full-time faculty and its adjunct faculty, who are practitioners in the industry. “They get stronger and stronger every semester, and stay with us longer,” she said.
Among some of the notable new faculty are Virginia Blake West, former brand development director for Unilever, who is teaching the marketing capstone course; Maryanne Grisz, executive producer of “Dressed,” a documentary film about designer Nary Manivong, teaches the Fashion Fundamentals course; John Favreau, currently senior vice president of business development for the McCall Pattern Co., teaches product development, and Kathy Ahn, former director of production for Polo Ralph Lauren’s Women’s Blue Label, teaches product development.
According to Marcuse, the five-year plan is to strengthen the academic program and help the students become more globally competitive, and globally and technologically fluent. She has also expanded its study abroad offerings, adding Australia to its semester abroad program, which includes other regions such as Asia and South America. It also offers students a trip to China every summer with two faculty members. She said while LIM remains small and intimate and experiential education is at its core, it has been adding new courses and programs, as well as online learning. For example, it has added hybrid courses where, rather than spend two days in the classroom, students spend one day in the classroom and one day online. “It gives them greater flexibility in how they manage their out-of-classroom hours,” she said.
In recent years, LIM has morphed from a commuter campus to one where half the students are residential (LIM residence hall or New York City apartments) and half the students commute. The college opened a residential hall at 1760 Third Avenue in 2008, which brought almost 400 students under one umbrella. There are lectures given by fashion professionals, leadership seminars and evening activities throughout the semester at the school.
“As we become more diverse, so have the clubs on campus recognizing the differences among students, whether that’s promoting safety on campus, antibullying or gay and lesbian awareness. It’s typical of any college campus. The thing I’ve learned from these students is they have chosen to go someplace different. They know they don’t have the large quad, the large campus, the tailgating parties. They have New York City at their fingertips. They have the possibility of completing three internships and a very good chance of being employed when they graduate because they’ve been given the tools,” said Marcuse. She noted that every LIM student is given business cards.
Tuition for the 2012-13 academic year is $22,420 for the undergraduate program, and $41,565 for the entire M.B.A. program (five terms).
The campus is located in four buildings scattered throughout Midtown. In 1965, it bought its current flagship building at 12 East 53rd Street. In 2003 and 2004, LIM’s campus expanded to 226 East 54th Street (Center for Career Development) and 216 East 45th (Maxwell Hall), respectively, and, in 2006, it added a state-of-the-art facility at 545 Fifth Avenue at 45th Street. The entire campus is wireless. Marcuse said LIM plans to add 4,300 square feet of space at Maxwell Hall in the spring semester, which will include an enlarged student union area and a food vendor. For the eighth consecutive year, LIM was named among the “Best in the Northeast” colleges by the Princeton Review. In a move to help its students become more globally attuned, LIM offers classes in Spanish, Italian, French and Mandarin.
Last spring, LIM launched a digital business strategy concentration. “It came about from conversations among the faculty,” said Marcuse. She said the courses include digital marketing, social media, e-tailing, mobile marketing, with plans to eventually add courses in Web merchandising, basic app development and Web analytics. Several of the graduates have gone on to jobs at dot-coms such as macys.com, Gilt Groupe and Rue La La. Students are required to do internships throughout their undergraduate years, and often choose retailers, fashion and accessories firms, event planning and p.r. companies. Its graduates have taken jobs at firms such as Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Avon, The Limited, Victoria’s Secret, Lord & Taylor, Gap, Sephora and Phillips-Van Heusen, in addition to KCD Worldwide and Sony BMG. Earlier this year, LIM became the first student association of the National Retail Federation, and a group of students did an online survey of 18- to 25-year-olds and their shopping habits.
In 2009, LIM added an M.B.A. program. “The M.B.A. program has been a home run for this institution. We have just received the approval to launch our second master’s degree program. It’s a Master of Professional Studies in fashion merchandising and retail management,” said Marcuse. The one-year program will officially launch next September. LIM will also add a new track in the fashion merchandising major called Home Fashions. LIM’s M.B.A. graduates have been placed at companies such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Gucci, Tory Burch, Ann Inc., Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Jones Apparel Group, Burberry, Juicy Couture, and Tommy Hilfiger.
Marcuse said she’s looking to elevate LIM’s profile to employers, prospective students and their families. Some 70 percent of the student body comes from the Tristate area, and Marcuse said one initiative is to recruit international students. Despite all the changes to the LIM experience, the student body still skews towards women. Some 93 percent of the undergraduates are female. At the M.B.A. level, 94 percent are female. One strategic initiative that they’re looking into is how to target men. “Because we have successful men who are here,” she said.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)