By  on April 13, 2007

NEW YORK — The Fashion Institute of Technology here dedicated a state-of-the-art facility for presentations that range from runway shows to computerized audiovisual displays.

The Laura and John Pomerantz Presentation Room, named for the former chief of Leslie Fay and his wife, principal of PBS Realty Advisors, will be used by students majoring in fashion merchandise management who are learning how to create professional presentations.

About 100 industry executives, including Saks Fifth Avenue president Ron Frasch, Natori chief executive officer Josie Natori and Financo chairman Gilbert Harrison, attended the ribbon-cutting and reception Wednesday night.

"Who could have turned out a crowd other than the Pomerantzes?" said FIT president Joyce F. Brown, who recalled an FIT breakfast two years ago in the Pomerantzes' honor that raised some $100,000 for the presentation room, which is located in the David Dubinsky Student Center.

Alan Kane, dean of the Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology at FIT, recalled first meeting John Pomerantz when he was running Leslie Fay and Kane was a young merchant: "John was one of those people I learned something from. Women were wearing a lot of dresses, even more than today, and Leslie Fay was a large supplier to our company. [Hahne's Department Store]. John would come over [as I was buying the line] and say, 'You're not buying enough!' The goods would come in and we'd sell it all. I learned you have to have conviction to build a company."

Brown noted that John Pomerantz's father, Fred, who started Leslie Fay, was one of FIT's founders. "John became active in FIT as a merchant, board member and chairman of the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries, the college's industry support body,'' she said. "He has been an adviser and mentor to our students, valuable to me and the board, and to all of FIT."

The Pomerantzes gave $1 million to FIT in 1991 to launch the college's $5 million scholarship program, and the college's Art and Design Center is named for Fred Pomerantz. They also donated $100,000 to each of two fund-raising efforts: a $15 million capital campaign completed in 2002 and a $10 million scholarship campaign now under way.John Pomerantz thanked his wife, his daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren, as well as his many friends in the audience, for their support.

"I remember my father said I was going to get involved in FIT. Those who knew my father — I got involved with FIT," he joked.

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