About Gateway

Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.


Pratt Celebrates 122nd Commencement

New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told graduating students that it is artists and designers who will solve the world’s most pressing problems — namely global climate change, overpopulation, and political turmoil.

Sadik-Khan, who since 2007 has overseen the city’s 6,000 miles of roadway, gave the graduation remarks at Pratt’s 122nd annual Commencement.

“What’s most interesting about this moment for you is that one of the answers to these issues is the reassertion of the role of design innovation into society,” she said. “The arts, industrial design, graphic design, and architecture training you have are just what we need to address issues we face in the city and the world today.”

Pratt held Commencement on May 16 at Pier 94 on Manhattan’s west side. About 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students were honored, including about 1,100 students who graduated this semester, and approximately 300 who officially graduated in the summer and fall 2010 terms.

Pratt also awarded honorary degrees to Martin Friedman, former director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; Mildred Friedman, former curator of design and architecture of Walker Art Center; sculptor Tim Hawkinson; and Raymond McGuire, Citi head of global banking and a board member of several leading cultural institutions.

Graduates celebrate at Commencement. School of Information and Library Science Associate Professor Debbie Rabina received the Distinguished Teacher Award. In her speech, Rabina focused on the intersection of art, design, and architecture with information science.

“If necessity is the mother of innovation then certainly the necessity behind every innovation you will contribute to the world, be it in the fine arts, photography, graphic art, package design or the many other fields you are now educated in, is a strong information system, which the innovator relies on,” she said “Information facilitates our human drive for self-improvement and innovation.”

Writing major Jennifer Stohlmann was the student speaker, having earned the Tribute to a Graduating Student award for her academic achievements as well as for her work as a resident assistant, and as an editor of Pratt’s literary magazine.

She told her fellow graduates that Pratt had prepared them well.

“Our training at Pratt has given us the luxury to see beauty everywhere we look. We leave here today in a position of great privilege because we have the potential to carry our vision forward, continuing to produce the beautiful and the useful,” she said.


(Left to Right) 2011 Pratt Honorary Degree Recipients: Tim Hawkinson, sculptor; Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City Department of Transportation commissioner; Martin Friedman, former director of the Walker Art Center; Raymond J. McGuire, Citi head of global banking; Mildred Friedman, former curator of design and architecture at the Walker Art Center; Thomas F. Schutte, Pratt president; Mike Pratt, chair of Pratt Board of Trustees.

Photos: René Perez 

Video: Jonathan Weitz



Annual "Big Damn Prints" Printmaking Event

"Big Damn Prints" is an all-day event held annually each spring, coordinated by Pratt’s printmaking program within the Department of Fine Arts. Started in 2006 by Adjunct Assistant Professor of Fine Arts Dennis McNett, "Big Damn Prints" allows participants to work in collaboration with each other as large prints created by students and members of the community are pressed by a steamroller and then air-dried outdoors.

Video: Kate Ünver

Editing and graphics: Josh Graver



Springtime on the Pratt Brooklyn campus

The coming of spring brings with it further beautification efforts to enhance Pratt’s Brooklyn campus. To promote the growth of foliage, the Office of Facilities Management has installed temporary fences for several weeks along Grand Avenue, South Walkway, Newman Plaza, and certain areas along Ryerson Walk.

Twenty-three new zelkova trees have just been planted as part of the completion of the Hiroko Nakamoto (Interior Design ’55) Grand Walk project and the Bruce Newman (B.F.A. Interior Design ’53) Mall project. The new trees are located on the East Mall adjacent to Steuben Hall, at the Grand Walk Main Gate entrance, and near the library.

Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg's MillionTreesNYC and New York Restoration Project, an additional 38 new trees were planted along the Classon and DeKalb Avenue fence lines and in the area adjoining the Engineering Quadrangle. Many are cherry trees that blossom at various times and face the challenge of summer’s hot weather, but will benefit from periodic watering and mulching by in-house Facilities staff, who also care for the Rose Garden. 

To provide additional living space for students, 27 townhouses on the Brooklyn campus (formerly used to house faculty) are being converted to student residences; each will house six students. In August, the first 24 students will move into four renovated townhouses, which feature kitchens and baths with modern fixtures. Constructed between 1905 and 1910, the townhouses are located along Willoughby Avenue, Steuben Place, and Emerson Place. The houses are recognized by the New York City Landmarks Commission and contribute to the historic character of the Pratt campus.

Reflecting on the importance of the Pratt campus to the Class of 2011, graduating senior Jennifer L. Stohlmann said, “We appreciate the luxury of seeing beauty everywhere we look."

Photo: © Bob Handelman 


Graduate architecture students present final projects to Christo

Students were challenged to design Visitors’ Campus at Christo’s The Mastaba

  M.Arch candidates in Professor Erich Schoenenberger’s Design Studio IV discuss The Mastaba’s Visitors’ Campus design plans with Christo. Famed artist Christo visited Design Studio IV, led by Erich Schoenenberger in Higgins Hall, to discuss with graduate Architecture students their final building designs for the Visitors’ Campus at The Mastaba: Project for the United Arab Emirates. The Mastaba is a work of art/architecture made of approximately 410,000 horizontally stacked oil barrels; it was conceived in 1978 by Christo and his longtime partner, Jeanne Claude, to be installed in Abu Dhabi.

Architecture students presented potential designs for The Mastaba project’s Visitors’ Campus on May 3. All include a small exhibition space, prayer space, tour departure facility, and a small overnight accommodation facility for visitors. The challenge of this project has been to address the harsh desert conditions while designing the campus without formal reference to The Mastaba.

Photo: Jonathan Weitz


Pratt Forms Diversity Committee to Enhance Campus Experience

Pratt has formed a diversity committee to provide guidance and make recommendations to the president on matters affecting diversity at the Institute. Nineteen representatives, including faculty, staff, and students, will serve on the committee, which will meet at least once a semester. Five sub-committees will meet two times per semester. The committee will share its work with the Pratt community twice annually.

Responsibility for chairing the committee will rotate between the vice president for student affairs, the director of human resources, and the Title IX/504 coordinator. Human Resources Director Thomas Greene will serve as the committee’s first chair. He says enhancing diversity on campus will further improve the quality of the Pratt experience for students, faculty, and staff.

“Fostering increased diversity of the Pratt community can contribute to the excellence of the Institute as much as the creativity, talents, and intellectual endeavors of its people do,” he says.

Greene says the committee will focus on recruiting and retaining faculty, staff, and students from diverse and traditionally underrepresented backgrounds; fostering an environment that welcomes diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and life experiences; and promoting the principle of equal opportunity in both the educational and work environments. The committee will also work on educating the Pratt community about the value of working and studying in a diverse environment.

“The overall Pratt experience is enhanced when students, faculty, and staff can take advantage of the knowledge and background provided by diverse groups of people,” Greene says.


Live Horses Model on Brooklyn Campus

Students with sketchbooks and cameras crowded around Gracie, a Welsh pony, in the Sculpture Park at the Brooklyn campus for a live horse modeling session. For more than a decade, the annual event has been organized by Film/Video and Photography Professor Sarah van Ouwerkerk, to give students the chance to draw, paint, film, or photograph live horses from various angles. Gracie was accompanied by trainer Ben Goldberg (pictured) and Brando, a thoroughbred horse. The horses attracted students from many programs. Gracie, Brando, and Goldberg made their trek to Pratt from Fair Hill Farm in Tyler Hill, Pennsylvania.

Photo: Karelisa Falkner 


2011 Senior Jewelry Design Award Winners Announced

Finalists selected by jury of esteemed fashion and design industry professionals

2011 Senior Jewelry Design winners shown with Fine Arts Jewelry Coordinator Patricia Madeja

Superhighway Neckpiece from first-place collection Surfaces: Earth | Metal | Body by Andrea ZeunerAndrea Zeuner won first prize and $500, receiving the Rekha-Leigh Punch Alumna Award for her collection “Surfaces: Earth | Metal | Body.”

See photos of this year's winning jewelry design work.

This year’s guest critics included Anne Godshall, chief merchandising officer, Asia Society; Holly Hotchner, director, Museum of Arts & Design; Scott Schramm, SVP/GMM of accessories, Henri Bendel; Pratt alumna Rekha-Leigh Punch, VP of production and operations, Temple St. Clair; Judy Collinson, executive director of women's apparel, Anthropologie; So Young Park, studio jeweler and metalsmith; Darcy Miro, studio jeweler, sculptor, and metalsmith; and Pratt Professors of Fine Arts David Butler, Patricia Madeja, Timothy McMahon, Leila Tai-Shenkin, and Pratt Professor of Fashion Design Erica Simon.

Photos: Laura June Kirsch; Steph Mantis


Students Thank Pratt Donors for Support

Students Sarah LoCosa (B.F.A. Comm-D ’11), Santiago Rivera (B. Arch. ’11), Cody Hughes (Sculpture ’12), and Teddy Atuluku (Industrial Design ’14) wrote thank-you notes to almost 100 Pratt donors. At the thank-you note writing session in Myrtle Hall last month, students expressed their gratitude to The Fund for Pratt donors, including first-time donors and members of Pratt’s Leadership Societies.

To learn more about Pratt’s Leadership Societies, visit www.pratt.edu/leadershipsocieties.

For more information on our student initiatives, please contact Emily Hashimoto in the Alumni Relations office.

Photo: Ashley Berger



Goseong Choi (M.F.A. Photography ’11) sits beside photographs from his series, titled Umma, which means “mother” in Korean. Choi was among 169 fine and digital arts graduate students who opened their studios to the public on Friday, April 15, for the spring 2011 M.F.A. Open Studios. The Pratt Artists League, a student organization that serves as a liaison between the fine arts administration and the graduate student body, sponsored the event. A group show and after party were also held in the Student Union.

The installation Western Pleasure is displayed in the studio of Amanda Sullivan (M.F.A. ’11). Sullivan constructed her glittering horses by adhering a layer of two-way-stretch-glitter-vinyl fabric over layers of cotton and yellow vinyl affixed to steel skeletons. 

Photos: Kate Ünver


Writing Program Holds Annual Senior Reading

Adrian Shirk (Writing ’11) reads from her thesis in the Alumni Reading Room in the Pratt Brooklyn library on April 28.Sixteen Pratt undergraduate fiction writers and five poets participated in the annual senior reading, where the graduating students in the B.F.A. Writing program read aloud selections from their theses, 40–60-page works of poetry or 60–80-page works of prose.  A highlight of the event was the announcement of the thesis prizewinners, poet Laura Henriksen (Writing ’12) and fiction writer Ana Economou (Writing ’11).

Photo: Jonathan Weitz


Graduating students learn how to receive alumni benefits

Pratt’s Office of Alumni Relations attended this year’s Manhattan and Brooklyn Campus Grad Fairs on April 21 and April 30, respectively. Each year, nearly 1,000 students stop by these events and speak to members of the Registrar's Office, Career Services, Prattstore; pick up caps and gowns; and receive details of Commencement. This year, graduating Pratt students were briefed on the opportunities amassed from keeping in touch with Alumni Relations Officers and the numerous advantages of holding a Pratt Institute Alumni Association Membership Card. Students received Pratt tote bags, luggage tags, copies of Prattfolio, a list of current alumni benefits, and members of the class of 2011 were entered into a raffle to win an iPad, the winner of which will be announced in July.