Ellis was inducted into The Toy Association’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 2013. | Source: The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

Judith Ellis, who founded the world’s very first baccalaureate degree program in Toy Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), is retiring — and she has a new successor.

The program, which was introduced in partnership with The Toy Association, inspired hundreds of FIT students to create award-winning products. To continue the legacy, Ellis names colleague Susan Baumbach as her successor. Baumbach has served as an instructor of games in the Toy Design program for 28 years, and was the first female vice president at Pressman Toy Corp. Through her work, Baumbach has invented dozens of successful games while leading her own company.

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“When I began this endeavor 35 years ago, I never expected it to take me on such a profound and touching journey,” says Ellis. “I am truly in awe of the talent and hard work that our graduates have put into improving the lives of children.”

Ellis was inducted into The Toy Association’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 2013, and received the honor of being named a Distinguished Professor of the State Universities of New York in 2016. She also received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, Distinguished Classroom Faculty, and the FIT President’s Award for Faculty Excellence. To further honor Ellis for her pioneership in the industry, she was also given the Women in Toys, Licensing and Entertainment award.

The Toy Design department at FIT has also earned the support of an alumni advisory board, that has collaborated with Baumbach throughout their work in the program.

“We wish Susan Baumbach every success in her new role,” says Steve Pasierb, president, CEO, The Toy Association. “Susan, FIT, and the Toy Design program students will continue to have The Toy Association’s steadfast support.”

About the author

Vivian Rousseau

Vivian Rousseau

Vivian Rousseau is an Editorial Intern with Adventure Media & Events, where she writes for The Toy Book, The Toy Insider, and The Pop Insider. She is also currently a Senior at Rutgers University - New Brunswick studying Journalism & Media Studies. Vivian’s two previous internships have been in news writing as well, as she loves to write! When she isn’t writing or doing her schoolwork, Vivian is typically reading, at the gym, or soaking up her last year of college with her friends and sorority sisters!