Anthony J. DiElsi ’79, group senior vice president and general merchandise manager for Ross Stores, Inc., has established a $25,000 term chair for Philadelphia University’s Fashion Merchandising and Management Program to enhance the academic experience for students and assist in the teaching and research of his former professor Elizabeth Mariotz.
“I took this as an opportunity to give back to the University,” DiElsi said. “I’m thankful to Beth, who helped get my career off to a good start, and thankful to Philadelphia University for providing the education that enabled me to fulfill my career aspirations.”
The term chair will provide $5,000 annually for the next five years to support the Fashion Merchandising and Management (FMM) program and Mariotz, the program’s director and associate professor of marketing.
“I am deeply grateful for Tony’s commitment to the FMM program and the University and privileged to be named the Anthony J. DiElsi chair,” Mariotz said. “Tony is a great role model for our students, demonstrating that diligence, tenacity and passion have led to a very successful and rewarding career. The Fashion Merchandising and Management program will benefit greatly from his gift by exposing our students to a broader global perspective, enhancing our technology initiatives and providing our students with cutting-edge industry projects.”
This is the first term chair established for the Fashion Merchandising and Management program, which resulted from the merged Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Industry Management programs, which prepares students to contribute to all aspects of the burgeoning global fashion industry and meet the needs of the 21st-century workplace for more broad-based learning, collaborative team work and real-world experience.
Sue Lehrman, dean of the School of Business Administration (SBA) in the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, said, “This is a wonderful gift in recognition of a teacher and mentor who made a difference in Mr. DiElsi’s life, and will support Professor Mariotz in her ongoing efforts to make a difference in the lives of her current and future students.”
She continued, “As a member of the SBA Advancement Council, Mr. DiElsi is an outstanding example of our dedicated alumni who are helping to make the School of Business Administration and Philadelphia University strong.”
DiElsi, who divides his time between Southern California and New York, said he is grateful for Mariotz’s counsel and advice during his PhilaU days and her help in landing his first internship at Philadelphia’s Strawbridge & Clothier department store.
After graduation, DiElsi held increasingly senior positions at Strawbridge’s, then Macy’s Inc.–where he was a vice president– and The Limited, before joining Ross 18 years ago. Ross Stores, a Fortune 500 off-price retailer with more than 1,100 stores in 33 states, had 2012 revenues of $9.7 billion, according to the company’s corporate profile.
“I’m grateful for a lot of things in life, and one is the great career I’ve had, which has been rewarding both in terms of satisfaction and financial return,” DiElsi said. Providing the term chair in honor of Mariotz, he said, “seemed like the right thing to do for someone who gave me guidance and got my career off to a great start.”
“PhilaU has a great reputation in the industry, and it helped over the years in the retailing community to say I went to this university,” DiElsi said in a phone interview from his New York office. With a wide range of textile and fashion courses, he said PhilaU “did add a lot to the knowledge I have used throughout my career. Along with the finance and retail background, I got off to a pretty quick start in the industry.”
DiElsi said Ross benefits from the PhilaU students and graduates who have interned or worked at the company. “I’m pretty impressed at how hard the University works with retailers like Ross to get students placed, making sure they get internships and jobs, and making sure the programs are top notch,” he said.