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Elizabeth S. Marcuse, president of LIM College and a third-generation family leader of the school, will step down, effective Dec. 31. She will be succeeded by Ron Marshall, an experienced retail industry executive and member of the college’s board of directors, who will become president on Jan. 1.

The board of directors of LIM College revealed the news Friday.

In recognition of Marcuse’s 21 years of service as president of LIM College, she will be appointed president emeritus, effective Jan. 1, and will remain engaged in various college activities. She will also continue to be on the LIM college board of directors as well as the LIM Fashion Education Foundation board of directors.

Marcuse succeeded her father, Adrian Marcuse, in the role in 2002. Adrian Marcuse, who held the role for 40 years, had taken over from his father, who founded the college in 1939.

During her time as president of LIM College, Marcuse, 60, strengthened the academic programs and helped the students become more globally competitive, and globally and technologically fluent. In addition, she dramatically increased student enrollment and bolstered the administration and faculty.

Marshall, 69, who has been a member of the LIM College board of directors since 2019, has been serving as a consultant and senior adviser to LIM’s executive leadership team on strategic, financial and operational matters. Among multiple executive leadership roles throughout his career, Marshall was most recently CEO of Claire’s Stores Inc. from 2016 to 2019. Earlier, he was president and CEO of The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co., a supermarket chain, and CEO of bookseller Borders Group. In addition to LIM College, he has served on the board of directors of Claire’s and Linens & Things.

Ron Marshall

Ron Marshall Courtesy shot

“The decision to step down as president of LIM was difficult, yet it is the right decision for me personally and professionally,” said Marcuse. “LIM has a solid foundation and strong momentum going into the future, and I am proud of the part I have played for more than two decades to position the college for continued success in changing times.”

“I am pleased I will continue to interact with faculty, staff, industry partners, and LIM alumni, who are talented and devoted educators and professionals. Most of all, I look forward to continued connections with students, whose achievement of their dream careers has always been both my purpose and the purpose of LIM College. I will take an active role in ensuring a smooth and effective transition to Ron’s leadership next year,” Marcuse added.

According to William Borner, chair of the LIM College board of directors, Marcuse’s tenure as president has been one of significant advancement and innovation.

“Over her decades of leadership, the college has grown significantly in size, while still maintaining its position as the country’s premier institution focused on preparing tomorrow’s leaders in the business of fashion and lifestyle. With the benefit of Liz’s vision and guidance, LIM is now a master’s degree-granting institution, has expanded its range of academic program offerings to keep pace with a constantly changing field, modernized all its facilities and welcomed a student body that is more racially, ethnically and geographically diverse, among many other achievements,” said Borner.

Prior to joining LIM College as president, Marcuse had a successful career in the fashion industry, serving as director of retail planning for Donna Karan. Before that, she was director of retail planning at Mamiye Sales Inc., a childrenswear manufacturer, and earlier, was a buyer at Lane Bryant and Montgomery Ward. She began her career in the executive training program at Macy’s.

In addition to serving on the LIM College board of directors and on the LIM Fashion Education Foundation board, Marcuse is also vice chairperson of the board of trustees of the Association of Private Colleges, among other board positions. In recognition of her contributions to education in the fashion business, Marcuse was awarded an honorary doctor of commercial science degree from LIM, and she is a past recipient of BRAG’s Fashion Leadership award for her accomplishments in education and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

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 additional areas, other than in secretarial skills.

Its first graduating class had 79 women. Today, LIM College offers master’s, bechelor’s and associates degrees across the global business of fashion and lifestyle, and there are more than 1,300 students enrolled.

Alums are employed at companies including Chanel, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Ross Stores, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and Walmart, with 96 percent of its 2022 graduates working in fashion and lifestyle or continuing their studies within six months of graduation.