Fashion School at Kent State University Designated as Ohio Center of Excellence


COLUMBUS, OH, Sep. 14, 2011 Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro, joined by Kent State University Board of Trustees, today named the The Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State an Ohio Center of Excellence in Cultural and Societal Transformation. Ranked as the 3rd best fashion school in the U.S. and 13th in the world, the Fashion School at Kent State has trained its students by using a forward-looking and rigorous curriculum with an aggressive approach in the use of digital technologies for 28 years.

As the sixth and final category of Centers of Excellence for the state, Cultural and Societal Transformation recognizes programs that, in significant and innovative ways, study factors that affect the human condition and community welfare and offer solutions leading to the greater social and economic prosperity of individuals and communities.

“Kent State University is to be commended for developing strong relationships with the world’s top fashion centers of Paris, Hong Kong, Florence, Italy and New York City, along with providing students with rigorous forward-thinking technology to help establish the university as one of Ohio’s Centers of Excellence for its Fashion School,” said Chancellor Jim Petro.

Partnerships with the Paris Academy and Hong Kong’s Institute for Textiles and Clothing, among others, provides the Fashion School’s students with a range of international and study abroad experiences. Through dedicated design and lecture studios in both New York City and Florence, Italy, they train more than 180 students abroad, graduate approximately 200 students annually, and boast a job placement rate of more than 90 percent for the program.

Funded research projects at Kent State’s Fashion School have ranged from working with the Korean government on counterfeit fashion goods to working with Cotton Incorporated to promote market research.

Additionally, the Fashion School’s recently established “TechStyleLAB” functions as a teaching/learning, research and commercial service environment, bringing together a broad range of digital design and production technologies into one space to investigate models for more localized, sustainable and creative digital supply chains for the fashion industry.

“On behalf of the Kent State University community, I would like to thank Chancellor Petro and the Ohio Board of Regents for recognizing our Fashion School as a Center of Excellence,” said Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. “We strive for excellence in all we do, and our Fashion School is a wonderful example of the excellence in action on our campus.”

About the Centers of Excellence

Ohio’s Centers of Excellence position the University System of Ohio to be a magnet for talent and a leader in innovation and entrepreneurial activity. The Centers will accomplish this by developing distinct missions for each institution that are recognized by students, faculty and business leaders, while eliminating unnecessary competition for resources, students and faculty within the state. 

The first five Centers of Excellence designations are specific to Ohio’s growth industries – Advanced Energy, Biomedicine and Health Care, Agriculture, Food Production and Bioproducts, Enabling Technologies: Advanced Materials and Sensors, and Advanced Transportation & Aerospace.

For more information, see: 

Ohio’s Centers of Excellence:

About the Board of Regents

The Ohio Board of Regents is the state agency that coordinates higher education in Ohio. The agency is directed by its Chancellor, who is a member of the Governor of Ohio's cabinet. The Chancellor, with the advice of the nine-member Board of Regents, provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly, advocates for the University System of Ohio and carries out state higher education policy.

Contact Info:


Ohio Board of Regents Contact:
Jeff Robinson
Office: 614.752.9487

Kent State University Contact:
Emily Vincent
Office: 330.672.8595