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SWPS University was founded in 1996 by three psychologists Professors Andrzej Eliasz, Zbigniew Pietrasiński and Janusz Reykowski. In 2008, the formal role of SWPS University Founder* was transferred to the Institute for the Development of Education and its President, Piotr Voelkel, a businessman, art connoisseur, promoter of Polish design, sponsor of multiple cultural and educational projects, and a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for outstanding contributions to the development and promotion of Polish business and for contributions to the community.



Piotr Voelkel is a founder of VOX Capital Group, which includes companies from the design sector, specializing in manufacturing of construction materials, interior design, and furniture design. He is a co-founder of Concordia Design, a design center in Poznań, and VOX-ARTIS Foundation for the promotion of Polish contemporary art. Piotr Voelkel is also the President of Wielkopolskie Towarzystwo Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych [The Greater Poland Society of Zachęta National Gallery of Art], whose collection is included in the permanent exhibit at the National Museum in Poznań. Additionally, Piotr Voelkel has established a stipend fund “Talenty” that supports development and education of talented young people.



Piotr Voelkel, in cooperation with Lidewij Edelkoort, a former Chair of the Design Academy, Eindhoven, Netherlands, founded School of Form under the auspices of SWPS University in Poznań. School of Form offers innovative design programs, combining humanities and design education. The School has been recognized by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for its undergraduate study program. Additionally, Piotr Voelkel co-founded Collegium Da Vinci, a higher education institution offering degree programs in Arts and Engineering (IT), in Poznań, as well as Da Vinci Education Group that includes primary, middle and secondary schools.


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*According to the Polish Law on Higher Education (Act of 20 July 2018, The Law on Higher Education and Science, Journal of Law of 2018, item 1668) “a higher education institution is a non-public higher education institution if it is founded by any natural or legal person other than a branch of a local government or a state or local government legal person, hereinafter referred to as ‘founder’.”
The role of the “founder” is a statutory role and is transferable, as defined by the Law on Higher Education: “The statute of a non-public higher education institution indicates a natural or legal person other than a branch of a local government or a state or local government legal person, which becomes a founder in the event of the founder’s death or loss of legal personality.”