About the Initiative
The initiative provides funding for undergraduate Kusske Scholars, graduate-level Kusske Fellows and Assistants, and faculty co-principals, who create a community of broadminded, collaborative designers to re-vision and remake our world.
Events & Programming
The bi-weekly Exchange forum convenes students, faculty, and staff across the college for interdisciplinary dialogue to broaden their perspectives on design and find opportunities for collaborative learning and creativity. Each year, the college hosts the KDI Lecture & Dialogue, which features renowned design practitioners and thought leaders whose work considers humanity's most pressing issues and generates solutions for a radically changing world. Each spring, the KDI Burst encourages engagement with diverse creative perspectives through a colloquium and workshop featuring guest designers. Broad-reaching, intermodal KDI Vista exhibits reflect each year's events and invite engagement with outcomes of the creative, pluralistic collaborative.
KDI funds also contribute to the establishment of physical and digital tools that support both the initiative and the college in creating interdisciplinary connections. This includes the development of a demonstration site for a Biomaterials Lab, supplementing the college’s existing fabrication facilities with innovative new technologies and materials to support biophilic, bio-inspired, and environmentally conscientious design. KDI collaborators are also developing Canopy, a suite of digital tools to support connection within the college and the broader design community.
About Christopher Kusske
A generous commitment from Manitou Fund to the University of Minnesota’s College of Design honors the memory of distinguished alumnus Christopher Arthur Kusske (BLA ’78). Inspired by his work, the Kusske Design Initiative (KDI) honors his legacy through widely inclusive events and collaborations among a growing community of broadminded designers.
Christopher’s career, together with his partner Allen Kolkowitz (B.Arch ’82), exemplified interdisciplinary design understanding and its importance in advancing the field. Their firm, KOLKOWITZ KUSSKE, worked across the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain to generate systematically imagined solutions. They involved expertise from multiple disciplines, guided by the belief that all projects require a rigorous approach to design methodology.
We are grateful to the McNeely family and Manitou Fund for this visionary opportunity.
Make a Gift
Your gift to the KDI Support Fund helps us advance dialogue across disciplines and explore material and technological innovation among collaborators in and around the College of Design.