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Burlington Foundation’s Gift a “Game Changer” for Internship Program

Wilson College of Textiles exterior view

There may be no better preparation for post-commencement employment than the kind of real-world experience delivered on the job through undergraduate internships. A gift made to the NC State Wilson College of Textiles ensures that those valuable opportunities are expanded and enhanced in coming years so that the textiles industry’s next generation of leaders are ready to succeed even before they receive their diplomas.

The Burlington Foundation has gifted $500,000 to the North Carolina Textile Foundation to support the College’s department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management (TATM) at the request of Greensboro, N.C. based International Textile Group, Inc. (ITG), a provider of textile solutions across apparel, uniform, commercial, specialty and automotive markets. A portion of the funds will be available to support programs, faculty and students, while an endowment will provide for long-term growth of the department. In particular, the gift provides for the development of a “model internship program.”

The internship program will include a two-prong approach which includes:

  • Outreach to targeted global textile organizations to build brand awareness of the Fashion and Textile Design and Fashion and Textile Management programs. These efforts would include the creation of new partnerships and opportunities for internship, education and research collaborations.
  • Enriched professional development through experiential learning to provide further preparation for industry leadership.

“We are extremely excited to partner with the North Carolina Textile Foundation and the Wilson College of Textiles in support of the Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management department. The college has recruited many of the best and brightest students and ITG and Burlington have benefited greatly from our relationship with both the students and the faculty,” said Kenneth T. Kunberger, president & CEO of ITG and Burlington Foundation Trustee. “We believe that through this investment we have the ability to strengthen and expand the visibility of the TATM program within the industry and further enhance the skills and career readiness of its students to compete as future leaders and employees.”

Dr. Nancy L. Cassill, professor and interim department head, TATM, characterizes the gift as a game-changer.

“As a department and a College, we are committed to providing students with opportunities that develop the skills they need to succeed and be positive forces in the industry as soon as they begin their careers. The Model Internship program will allow for the creation of more of those chances and the extension of existing ones. It speaks to the ‘Think and Do’ philosophy that is NC State,” she said.

The gift is indicative of the robust partnership that has existed between industry and the Wilson College of Textiles for decades, said Dr. David Hinks, interim dean.

“With more than $14 million in grants from more than 160 separate companies throughout the U.S. and the world, the Wilson College of Textiles is focused on assisting the textiles industry not only with providing future leaders, but also in aiding economic prosperity through textiles discovery and innovation,” he said. “We are proud of our long-standing and close relationship with our innovative North Carolina partner, ITG, and we are especially grateful to Ken Kunberger and his team for providing this very generous gift. It will enable our fashion and textile management and design programs to move to the next level through enriching experiences that will help ensure our primary goal is achieved: student success.”

About the Burlington Foundation

The Burlington Foundation was established in 1943 and will dissolve at the end of the year having provided charitable and philanthropic support for more than 70 years. Foundation grants are primarily directed to higher education and other organizations serving communities where large numbers of Burlington employees live and work.

About ITG

International Textile Group, Inc. (ITG) is a global, diversified provider of textile solutions across performance & specialty apparel fabrics, advanced uniform fabrics, technical commercial fabrics, and engineered automotive components. ITG’s business units include: Burlington, Cone Denim, Safety Components, and Carlisle Finishing, as well as two R&D incubators – Burlington Labs and Cone 3D. The company operates manufacturing facilities in the United States, Mexico, and China. To learn more visit