Philadelphia University Presents the 2012 Fashion Show and Spirit of Innovation Gala

Philadelphia University will present acclaimed menswear designer John Varvatos with the 2012 Spirit of Design Award at the Philadelphia University Fashion Show on Saturday, April 28, at 7 p.m. at the Academy of Music.

Following the Fashion Show, the Leader of Innovation Medal will be presented to five accomplished leaders—D. Walter Cohen, D.D.S., William L. Jasper, George Y.V. King ’69 H’11, Eileen J. Martinson ’86 and Francis J. Shammo ’83—at the Innovation Gala at the Hyatt at the Bellevue.

The Spirit of Innovation Gala and Philadelphia University Fashion Show are part of the Evening of Innovation festivities, which celebrate and honor outstanding leaders across a range of disciplines and the best of this year’s student innovations and fashion designs.

Philadelphia University’s Annual Fashion Show

The Fashion Show showcases the best of each year’s fabulous, colorful, creative and innovative student fashion designs. The annual show attracts a standing-room-only crowd of some 2,300 students and their families, faculty members, designers and fashion and apparel industry professionals.

Spirit of Design Award winner John Varvatos, chairman and chief creative officer of John Varvatos Enterprises, is at the forefront of trendsetting menswear design.  Having grown up in Detroit, he mixes the flair of Motown music with urban edginess in his award-winning collections.  After an impressive start to his career with Polo Ralph Lauren, Varvatos became head of menswear design at Calvin Klein.  The launch of the John Varvatos Collection in 2000 cemented his position among the industry’s elite designers.  The Council of Fashion Designers of America honored Varvatos with the Perry Ellis Award for New Menswear Design in 2000 and named him Menswear Designer of the Year in 2001 and 2005.  He also was named Designer of the Year by GQ magazine in 2007.

Varvatos currently is a mentor on NBC’s new series “Fashion Star,” with host Elle McPherson and mentors Nicole Ritchie and Jessica Simpson.  For more information, go to

“I am honored to be receiving The Spirit of Design Award,” Varvatos said. ”Philadelphia University’s Fashion Design program has been a leader in our industry and in preparing students for real-life experiences.”

Philadelphia University’s Spirit of Innovation Gala

At the Spirit of Innovation Gala, Philadelphia University will present the Leader of Innovation Medal to five outstanding leaders who have made significant contributions across many fields that better society and shine a light on the impact of innovation all around us.  They are:

  • D. Walter Cohen, D.D.S., a Philadelphia University trustee, who served as dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and its first chair of periodontics, and as president of the Medical College of Pennsylvania. He has published 22 books and more than 100 articles and has received numerous honors and awards from all over the world.  In 1997, Hebrew University of Jerusalem established the D. Walter Cohen, D.D.S., Middle East Center for Dental Education in Israel.
  • William L. “Bill” Jasper, CEO and chairman of the Board of Directors Unifi, Inc., a leading producer and processor of multi-filament polyester and nylon textured yarns.  He joined the company with its purchase of Kinston polyester POY assets from INVISTA in 2004, and previously held management positions in operations, technology, sale and business at DuPont.
  • George Y.V. King, managing director of Wearbest Garment Manufacturing Co., Ltd., based in Hong Kong.  Under his leadership, the family firm has grown into a global leader in the textile manufacturing industry, producing clothing for some of the world’s top apparel firms, including Gap, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein and Guess.
  • Eileen Martinson, a Philadelphia University trustee, is CEO of Sparta Systems, Inc., a leader in quality management software and enterprise quality and compliance management solutions.  Previously, Martinson was COO of Allscripts, where she was instrumental in completing its $1.3 billion merger with Eclipsys Corp.  She also served in top leadership positions at Misys plc, Ariba, SAP America, Oracle Consulting, Siebel and Gartner.  Martinson promotes quality educational opportunities through the Martinson Family Foundation.
  • Francis J. “Fran” Shammo, also a University trustee, is executive vice president and chief financial officer for Verizon Communication.  Since joining Bell Atlantic Mobile (now Verizon) in 1989, he has played an active role in shaping the company’s financial strategy and helping it grow into a global leader.  In various leadership roles at Verizon, including vice president and controller for Verizon Wireless at the time of its launch, he has exhibited expertise in finance, mergers and acquisitions and general operations.

“These impressive 2012 honorees represent the highest level of innovative business leadership and serve as inspirations to our students,” said Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli, Jr.  “As a model for professional university education, Philadelphia University is focused on innovation.  With expertise in such diverse fields as manufacturing, software, dentistry, fashion design and telecommunications, they demonstrate what it is possible to achieve with hard work and ingenuity, and exemplify the University’s mission, sense of purpose and innovative spirit.”

Posted in Awards and Accolades, University Headlines