Chip & Shannon Wilson to receive honorary degrees from KPU

Tue, May 5, 2015

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – Two prominent figures in Vancouver’s design industry known for their extensive philanthropic efforts will receive honorary degrees from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) this spring.

Chip and Shannon Wilson are founders and designer for three iconic and global apparel companies: Westbeach, lululemon athletica and Kit and Ace. The Wilsons will both be presented with honorary doctor of laws degrees during KPU’s spring convocation in May.

“Chip and Shannon have made a strong commitment to leaving their community, both local and global, better than they found it,” said Carolyn Robertson, dean of KPU’s Faculty of Design.

Added KPU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Alan Davis: “Chip and Shannon Wilson are wonderful and loyal friends to the KPU community and it gives me great pleasure to recognize them in this way.”

In 2012, the Wilsons personally pledged $8 million, along with another $4 million from lululemon, to catalyze the new KPU Wilson School of Design building, which when complete will provide the interdisciplinary space and resources to propel KPU’s design programs to even greater excellence.

That same year, the Wilsons donated $1.5 million to gift the sculptural art piece, A-maze-ing Laughter, to the City of Vancouver. This public art work was nominated in the Great Places in Canada contest due to its impact on the city, and is the only work of public art to receive this nomination.

The Wilsons continually seek out ways of elevating those around them and enabling exponential change. Their core values drove an investment in the mindful, mind-body tech company based in San Francisco called “Whil”. Whil enables people to achieve personal fulfillment via an online subscription business.

Passionate about elevating the world through primary education, the Wilsons founded Imagine1Day in 2007. The non-profit foundation is dedicated to bringing quality education to all children of Ethiopia free of foreign aid by 2030.

“We are committed to the technical apparel business being a key economic driver of the B.C. economy,” said Chip Wilson. “We see Kwantlen as an important piece of the puzzle by providing the world’s best technical apparel designers.”

“We are honored to be receiving these doctorates not just because of our donation but because we really love what we do and we love to pass on our knowledge to others,” said Shannon Wilson.

The Wilsons will receive their degrees at KPU on May 21 during the spring convocation ceremony for graduates of the Faculty of Design.

Honorary degrees are awarded to those honoris causa in recognition of dignified achievements or outstanding service to the public. Nominees are exceptionally distinguished scholars, creative artists, public servants, prominent people in the community and the professions, and others who have made significant contributions locally, nationally, or globally.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, 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, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at

Photos of Chip and Shannon Wilson available here.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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