The Fashion Institute of Technology was the brainchild of the educator Mortimer C. Ritter and the menswear manufacturer Max Meyer. The school opened in 1944 on the top two floors of the High School of Needle Trades. By 1951, there was enough support for the institute as well as students enrolled to warrant a degree program at FIT. That year, the school was granted the right to award an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. FIT received accreditation in 1957 and introduced a variety of courses, including Liberal Arts. During the 1960s, the curriculum grew to include interior design, advertising, and photography as subjects taught at the school. The following decade saw the school expanding to provide Bachelor's (in 1975) and Master's (1985) degree's, after years of lobbying State University Board of Education. FIT can boast about being the first to offer unique degrees in fields taught no where else in the U.S., such as Toy Design and Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design. There are 48 degree programs in total at FIT as of October 2020.