Ready, set, create! KPU announces new Wilson School of Design

Thu, Dec 6, 2012

For immediate release

December 7, 2012

Ready, set, create! KPU announces new Wilson School of Design

(Metro Vancouver, B.C.) – Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is thrilled to share the news of a $12 million gift from Shannon and Chip Wilson and lululemon athletica to build a new School of Design located at the Richmond campus. The gift is to be matched by the Province of British Columbia and KPU, creating a $36 million facility that will inspire innovation and leadership.

“We are enormously grateful to Shannon, Chip, lululemon and the Province for this investment,” said Dr. Alan Davis, KPU president and vice-chancellor. “This gift will be transformative for KPU and for B.C.’s design industries.”

The new school will offer innovative education in fashion, interior, graphic and product design, as well as an advanced research studio-laboratory where transformative leaders, design innovators and strategic technologists will emerge to lead design industries. A post-baccalaureate diploma in technical apparel design, launching in January 2014, will combine design, business and technology to develop a new generation of design thinkers. Highly specialized programs and research in technical apparel and textile design will bolster B.C.’s reputation as a world leader in creating equipment and clothing for athletic and outdoor pursuits.

“Our province is the perfect testing ground for technical apparel – you don’t have to go far to find inspiration,” said Shannon Wilson. “Our vision is for B.C. to become the global hub for athletic performance apparel and recreational products, and the first step is to provide a place to cultivate design talent. I am thrilled that KPU and the Province have partnered with Chip and I as well as lululemon to achieve this.”

“lululemon is about people, leadership and creativity combining to elevate the world. This partnership is an investment in all these things,” commented Christine Day, CEO, lululemon athletica. “We are thrilled to be working with Shannon, Chip, the Province and Kwantlen on this project and are excited about the impact this school will have on creative talent and future innovation in B.C.”

"B.C. is known as a global hub for technical apparel design. The new Wilson School of Design will ensure British Columbians are first in line to take advantage of new opportunities in this growing industry," said Premier Clark. "Our government is proud to partner with the Wilsons and Kwantlen Polytechnic University to build this new school."

Kwantlen’s bachelor of fashion and technology program is the only program of its kind in Western Canada. Graduates are in high demand for their creative and technical expertise, grounded by a market-driven approach and strong ties to industry. The degree is a flagship for KPU Richmond, which also offers exceptional undergraduate programs in business, arts and science. The new school of design will increase academic space on the campus by 124% and act as a catalyst to develop a ‘destination campus’ dedicated to fostering creativity and providing a foundation for the discovery of marketable innovation.

Shannon and Chip Wilson are visionary leaders in business, philanthropy and the philosophy of intentional living. Best known for founding technical apparel giant lululemon athletica, the Wilsons are known for their ability to combine innovative design, leadership, retail savvy and clever marketing to establish global trends and award-winning brands. Passionate about giving and empowering others, Shannon and Chip are committed philanthropists, having made significant gifts to B.C. charities in the health, social services, cultural and education sectors. In 2007, the Wilsons created imagine1day, a charity dedicated to providing quality education within communities in Ethiopia. Shannon and Chip have five boys, and cite their family as their greatest accomplishment.

lululemon athletica is a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company that creates components for people to live long, healthy and fun lives. By producing products that help keep people active and stress free, lululemon believes that the world will be a better place. Setting the bar in technical fabrics and functional designs, lululemon works with yogis and athletes in local communities for continuous research and product feedback.

For more information about the Wilson School of Design please visit,
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for more than 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts and science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 18,000 students annually have a choice from over 200 programs, including bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations.


For more information about Kwantlen, contact:
Joanne Saunders
Director, Marketing and Communications