KCAD Introduces Custer Excellence in Design Endowed Scholarship

Posted February 10, 2022 in Interior Design

A long-time pillar of West Michigan’s interior design community has endowed a new scholarship for students at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD). Funded by Custer Inc., a family-owned commercial interior solutions provider and furniture dealer operating out of Grand Rapids for over 40 years, the Custer Excellence in Design Scholarship is intended for full- or part-time students pursuing a BFA in Interior Design at KCAD. Applicants must have a 3.5 GPA to be eligible.

Through the scholarship, Custer hopes to extend the ties between the two organizations well into the future. Todd Custer, CEO of Custer, explains, “It is important to Custer to support the future of design by giving back to Kendall, an organization that has given us so much in terms of great talent. As many of our current interior designers and project coordinators are KCAD graduates, this endowment aligns with what we do professionally and helps students of interior design to fulfill their dreams.”

Nikki Probst, Custer’s Vice President of Business Relations & Community Engagement, is also eager to support the college, building on her long relationship with President Tara McCrackin through their membership in the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and during McCrackin’s tenure as an Interior Design professor at KCAD.  

“Custer has always turned to Tara as a resource for top talent. I have hosted an emerging designer education series in the past where I’ve asked for her nominations of students to participate in the program. Whether it’s educational events, participating in panels to critique student projects, or presenting industry research to classes, we’re happy to continue to participate to contribute to designers’ growth.”

KCAD Interior Design students and recent graduates had the opportunity to particpate in Custer's 2018 Emerging Designer Development series.KCAD Interior Design students and recent graduates at Custer's Emerging Designer Development series in 2018.

Probst values the college’s contributions to local firms and hopes the scholarship will strengthen their already mutually beneficial ties. “The students have a great advantage of having this town with a lot of wonderful furniture dealers and furniture manufacturers,” she says. “If you’re going into commercial furniture design, you have fantastic resources here, and the companies make it a priority to partner with Kendall. They’ve given us a lot in terms of good talent, so the best way to give back to them is to ensure that we can help develop more talent, and hopefully keep them in West Michigan where they can be future employees of our business.”

Applicants can learn more about the scholarship through KCAD’s Financial Aid department. The first Custer Excellence in Design Scholarship is anticipated to be available to award for the 2024-2025 academic year.