UW-Stout: Receives donation from Kohler

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Jerry Poling
Assistant Director of Communications


Industrial design program receives $10,000 from Kohler

Menomonie, Wis. — The School of Art and Design at University of Wisconsin-Stout has received a donation from a major Wisconsin corporation.

Kohler Co., based in Kohler, donated $10,000 recently to Stout University Foundation. The money will be used to fund equipment purchases in the industrial design Bachelor of Fine Arts program.

“This wonderful gift from Kohler will allow our industrial design area to continue pushing the bounds of forward-thinking design,” said Dave Beck, director of the School of Art and Design and an associate dean.

“With their donation, we will be able to purchase industry-standard supplies and equipment for our students to experiment with new prototypes and ideas in the studio. It is support like Kohler’s that allows UW-Stout’s School of Art and Design to continue performing as a leader in innovation and creativity among art and design disciplines in higher education,” Beck said.

The donation was facilitated through Kohler’s corporate giving program and David Richter-O’Connell, a UW-Stout visiting assistant professor of industrial design. Richter-O’Connell previously worked at Kohler as a designer.

“I mentioned that, over the years, many key industrial design staff members at Kohler had been recruited out of the UW-Stout program and that the program had been a key talent source for Kohler for a long time,” Richter O’Connell said.

Richter-O’Connell’s students already have used some of the funds. Foam core material was purchased to help them design prototypes of four, full-scale kitchen workspaces for a class project. Kohler industrial designers had hoped to attend the final student presentations but couldn’t because of inclement weather, Richter-O’Connell said.

Kohler is a global company with 50 manufacturing locations and more than 30,000 employees on six continents. Known for its kitchen and bath fixtures, it also makes furniture and decorative products, engines and generators and is in the hospitality industry with leading golf and lodging destinations, such as Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Industrial design prepares students for careers as product and device designers. A combination of art and engineering, facets of the profession that students learn include fine art and sculpture; visual communication; marketing and branding; social, human and natural sciences; materials; spatial context and user and stakeholder experience. Learn more about UW-Stout’s program at www.uwstout.edu/programs/bfaind.