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Toronto philanthropist donates $1 million to kickstart new fashion fellowship

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By Annie Arnone

For several years, Toronto philanthropist and fashion enthusiast, Suzanne Rogers has sat in the VIP section of Ryerson’s Mass Exodus fashion show. Her admiration for Ryerson’s talented designers has stemmed into almost $34 million  in donations from her to help fund the program. This year, Rogers has kick started a fellowship at Ryerson called The Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute (SRFI), donating $1 million dollars to the Ryerson Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD).

The fellowship will be funded by Rogers and her husband, and was created in hopes to bridge the gap between students in their final years of design, as they move into their jobs following graduation.

Robert Ott, associate professor in the fashion program, says this donation is extremely significant in both the design programs growth, and students growth in the field.

“For someone to give a gift like this to help [students] in the early stages of their fashion career is extremely generous,” he said. “This is going to give the best of the best a leg up in their education and their business opportunities after graduation.

The fellowship will be offered exclusively to students in their third and fourth year, as well as those who have recently graduated.

Within Ryerson’s media release, the following will be offered in the fellowship: “Master classes led by national and international fashion experts, exclusive mentorship by the school’s Distinguished Designer-in-Residence Funding to support active participation in national and international competitions.”

Details of the application process will released in February 2017.

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