item 6 - Alfred Sloan interview, 1994 November 1

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US NNFIT SC.FITA.3.20.4.9.4.6

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Alfred Sloan interview, 1994 November 1

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  • 1994 November 1 (Creation)

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Carol Poll was a professor of sociology at FIT and interviewed members of the FIT community for the FIT 50th Anniversary oral history series.

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(1921 December 24-2018 July 27)

Biographical history

Alfred V. Sloan, Jr. was born in New York City in 1921, and grew up in the Bronx in the same building where his father practiced medicine. After graduating from Townsend Harris High School in 1937 at age 15, he obtained his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in both History and English. In 1941, he joined the Air Force, and served overseas for several years during World War Two as a signalman. Around 1946, he returned to the United States, and found a job working for the well-established Strawbridge & Clothier in their New York offices. Simultaneously, he attended New York University on a part-time basis, earning a Master's of Science in Retailing in 1950, and a PhD in education in 1956, also from NYU. He then began a teaching job at SUNY Orange (Orange County Community College). After two years, he was recruited by FIT, and taught various business and marketing courses there for an impressive 58 years, until his retirement in December, 2016. Professor Sloan passed away on Friday, July 27, 2018.

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In this interview with Dr. Alfred Sloan, Jr. he discusses his 1958 arrival at FIT following two years of teaching at Orange County Community College, another SUNY school. He was a veteran of World War II and had spent over ten years working in the fashion industry. Sloan discusses FIT’s first home at the Central High School of Needle Trades and their eventual move to the C building. Sloan lists various founders of the school and their roots on 7th avenue in the garment industry. He describes how the fashion buying and merchandising department has grown over the years thanks to strong industry support. Sloan then mentions Rosalind Snyder and the birth of the liberal arts department at FIT. He applauds the success of FIT’s curriculum and mentions that it has served as a model for other fashion schools across the world. Sloan notes that from the 1940s to the mid-1960s, FIT had a community service requirement for students. He mentions several department Chairs and FIT’s model of requiring professional studies in the first two years in contrast to traditional liberal arts colleges. He lists the courses he teaches and mentions student placement rates. Sloan then discusses the historical success of women at FIT; a characteristic of the school he finds particularly important. Sloan describes the results of an ongoing demographic survey his department asks students to complete and FIT’s international reputation. He finishes the interview with memories of the referendum on FIT’s name in the 1970s and a brief moment of fame on the now defunct FIT baseball team.

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      Access this recording on YouTube: https://youtu.be/BZ48VYh-weo

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      Legacy audio file ID: AOH205

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          Archivist's note

          This was originally part of a larger recording that includes a Newt Godnick interview, which ends at the very end of the second of three digital audio files.

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