Although cancer is what brought Brett Robinson Kilroe’s life to an end on March 24th, 2016, it did not define who he was.

The scholarship that has been initiated by Brett’s colleagues and friends is a poignant final chapter to his life and work.

Our hope is to inspire the next generation of students at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta Canada, to reach a little farther by affording them the same opportunity that Brett received as a young graduate.

Upon his graduation from ACAD, in 1993, Brett was granted a scholarship to attend the prestigious School of Visual Arts in New York City. This scholarship has since run its course and is no longer granted. He was one of approximately 50 students that attended SVA after ACAD. Leaving his homeland and establishing himself in a new country gave Brett the confidence to pursue his dream of working in the music industry to the fullest, while also solidifying his appreciation for his upbringing and the institutions that made his journey possible.

During his career, Brett made extraordinary contributions to the field of art direction and graphic design. His work in the music industry was recognized with several awards and citations, including a Grammy nomination, and the artists with whom Brett collaborated most closely—Kings of Leon, The Strokes, and Alabama Shakes, among them—trusted him to help shape their visual identity. While Brett’s album covers, music videos, and marketing campaigns for major-label artists have been recognized internationally, he continued to champion independent and emerging artists in the US and his beloved Canada. As an instructor at the School of Visual Arts, he worked to develop the next generation of creatives, and launched the careers of several of his students and younger collaborators.

People loved and admired Brett because of how he cared for people, and how much he lived for music and the art and visuals that expressed it. He was teaching long before he was officially a design instructor at SVA, and he continued to advise and encourage others once cancer made his presence at work impossible.

At the end of his life, he was surrounded by a large, loud, loving, scared, and wondrous circus of people he’d gathered in his short 45-year life. There were beautiful moments, tears, feelings of futility and hope. But above all, there was gratitude.

When Brett realized he wasn’t going to get better, he said simply, “I won’t say good bye, but only thank you.”

His community of friends and loved ones is determined to continue carrying that message of gratitude, and ACAD has agreed to partner in this vision. An invitation goes out to all supporters of music, art, life and insatiable curiosity to contribute to the endowment started by The Founding Donors. (The Cormack Family, The Boychuk–Hughes Family, The Kilroe Family, The Kings of Leon Family, and The Strokes Family.)

The Founding Donor’s have made the initial $25,000 contribution to start an endowment at ACAD. Our goal is to raise another $225,000 to ensure a yearly gift of $10,000 to one ACAD student each year starting in the spring of 2018.

Anyone can contribute to the fund. Please join Brett’s family and community in their efforts to inspire the journey he and his fellow ACAD graduates started in NYC.

Donations are granted a tax deduction receipt for all Canadian taxpayers.