Renae Simmonsen, ’04, possessed a passion for fashion. The intent for The Renae Simmonsen Memorial Endowment is to help other students pursue a similar passion. Renae’s parents, Marty and Diane Simmonsen, along with their son, Chris and his wife, Brittany, have established the fund to benefit students pursuing a degree in Clothing, Textiles and Design in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho. This endowment will allow students to participate in facilitated experiences in the fashion and design industry outside of the classroom.
Renae Simmonsen with noted fashion consultant and TV personality Tim Gunn in Plano,TX for a J.C. Penney’s event in September 2010.
Renae graduated with a degree in Clothing, Textiles and Design (CTD) and while at the University of Idaho, was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority and worked part time at the local clothing store Creighton’s for Women. Renae was inspired by tours of major clothing stores and a local related field work study program during her undergrad years, which lead her to pursue a career in the apparel industry. After graduation, Renae landed her dream job in the Buyer’s program at J.C. Penney’s in Plano, Texas and soon saw the education she received at UI had prepared her to be successful in such a field.
As Renae’s former Creighton’s employer, Shelly Robson, ’91, can attest “Her career was not a long one, but her success within the industry was made possible by her degree from the University of Idaho.”
The Simmonsen’s vision for this endowment is to annually provide funds to support industry tours and related travel for student groups in the CTD program as they have seen firsthand how exposure and experience to the industry can help shape the future of a student’s career.
Renae passed away unexpectedly in 2010. Marty and Diane, Chris and Brittany recently established the endowment as a way to forever remember Renae and her passion for the Vandals and the apparel industry.