By  on January 11, 2008

NEW YORK — "Proceeds from tonight's event will go to Macy's markdown collection," joked Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Macy's Inc., as he presented Kenneth Cole with an AMY Award at Wednesday night's 2008 YMA Geoffrey Beene Fashion Scholarship Fund Dinner. "But even then, we come up a little short, so we will be passing around a hat."

YMA's annual event, which raises funds for scholarship and mentoring programs, raised a record $1.3 million, after the first recipients of the AMY Lifetime Achievement Award, Jay and Patty Baker, and the Geoffrey Beene Scholarship Endowment each donated $85,000 to exceed last year's total.

"We love to give and we love to be involved, but we don't do a lot of being honored," said Jay Baker, former president of Kohl's Corp. "But then I saw what YMA is for — scholarships, which are something very deep in the heart of Patty and I."

Roger Farah, Polo Ralph Lauren's president and chief operating officer, noted as he presented the Bakers with the award that, since they set up significant endowments at both the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Fashion Institute of Technology, "interest in retail has exploded."

Rick Leto, former ceo of Mervyns, rounded out the evening's honorees. Paul Rosengard, group president at Perry Ellis and chairman emeritus of YMA, said he had been asking Leto to accept an AMY Award for the last decade, and Leto had always declined, but said he would accept one before he retired — which he did late last year.

For the first time, YMA recognized four of its scholars with the $25,000 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship Award: Davia Rabinoff-Goldman, from Rhode Island School of Design; Nicole Baum, from the University of Colorado; Hazel Morley, from Parsons The New School for Design, and Casey Saccomanno, from Philadelphia University. As a surprise, the four other finalists received $5,000 scholarships: Chelsea Cornelison, from the University of Wisconsin; Kwabena Asiedu, from Wharton; Jennifer McMasters, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Ilana Pfefer, from FIT.

Held at the Marriott Marquis and led by master of ceremonies Tim Gunn, the event attracted many industry executives, including Andrew Rosen, Gilbert Harrison, Abbey Doneger, Robert C. Skinner Jr., Denise Seegal, Karen Murray and Tom Murry.

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