Thomas Jacob "Tommy" Hilfiger was born March 24, 1951 in Elmira, New York, the second of nine children. Both of his parents were practicing Catholics. His father Richard was a watchmaker of Dutch-German descent and his mother Virginia (née Gerrity) was a nurse of Irish descent. Hilfiger also claims direct descent from the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Hilfiger has described his upbringing as very happy. He credits his parents with instilling a good work ethic and compassion for others. Hilfiger had an early interest in sports, fashion, and the music industry, a trend that ran in his family. One of his brothers, Andy Hilfiger, went on to work as a musician and designer, while Hilfiger's other brother Billy Hilfiger would join King Flux as a guitarist. Hilfiger graduated from the Elmira Free Academy high school in 1970. His parents wanted him to get a college education and pursue a traditional career, and for a time he attended GST BOCES Bush Campus in Elmira.