A Note from Director Louise Valentine
Hello to the KSU creative community from the new director of the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising!
The first 10 days are officially complete! They have been a whirlwind, with an energetic and carefully curated schedule: bootcamp, the Supima Student Design Competition at New York Fashion Week, alumni networking, advisory board meetings, study away programming and industry investments. As a creative welcome, it’s provided a tornado of fresh air; a remarkable introduction to a range of people, events and collaborators.
I heard first-hand of the very high regard that Kent State Fashion School is held by employers, both large and small; afforded an opportunity to listen to the reflections of our alumni - how placements can often be the peak of a student’s horizon-expansion program; listened to stories from both faculty and students of the empowering experience of awards, scholarships and competitions; sought advice from critical friends about new ways of honoring the Peg’s Foundation ‘Think Bigger’ attitude and mentality; and, said a personal ‘hello!’ to a few of our incredible donors.
So… what value has all of this activity presented? Well, here are some early reflections about what I’ve learned so far: Kent is a successful, growing University; its Fashion School is full of ambition and is striving to be globally leading. Building on its strength of high-quality teaching, outstanding student education and experience in a vibrant campus setting, the Fashion Schools’ excellence has genuine potential to generate globally distinct resources and skills.
The Kent State Fashion School is currently ranked No. 5 in the U.S. and No. 15 globally. In the Midwest, it is ranked No. 1 for Fashion Design and No. 2 for Fashion Merchandising, second only to Iowa. The Fashion School’s current configuration and strategy has enabled high growth, and steady, sustained rankings.
Going forward, with the new business of fashion - a magnificently enthralling global industry, with a breath-taking value of 3 trillion dollars - there are fresh challenges awaiting in higher education. And, as a curiously creative community, we are perfectly poised to begin writing a new chapter of increased international excellence, together.
On October 17, I invite all to personally engage and celebrate the future of The Fashion School with me during my welcome reception in Rockwell Hall beginning at 5 pm. I look forward to collaborating with you; to exploring opportunities and importantly, making them happen.