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.

« on the catwalk: 2010 pratt fashion show honors catherine malandrino | Main

Patti Smith Performs at Pratt’s 121st Commencement

Photo by Rene Perez

The poet, performer, and artist Patti Smith addressed Pratt Institute's 121st commencement ceremony on May 17 at Radio City Music Hall. Smith received an honorary doctoral degree alongside former New York City Landmarks Commissioner Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, novelist Jonathan Lethem, architect Daniel Libeskind, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)director Glenn Lowry, and film director Steven Soderbergh.

In her speech, Smith offered advice on everything from artistic collaboration to dental care.  She then reminisced about her connection with Pratt. 

“Many of my friends went, and I pursued them, and spent a lot of time in Brooklyn on the Pratt campus,” she said. Among Smith’s closest friends was Pratt alumnus the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Smith also performed two songs— “Wing” and “My Blakean Year”—accompanied by Lenny Kaye, lead guitarist of the Patti Smith Band. 

Longtime champion of the arts Diamonstein-Spielvogel welcomed graduates “to a world of infinite possibility” in which they should engage in public life.

Novelist Lethem said, “I hesitate to dispense wisdom to those who have really demonstrated greater wisdom than I did at the corresponding age by allowing yourself to arrive at a moment like this and wear a robe like this one so much sooner than I managed.” 

Architect Libeskind, referring to Pratt as “a school I have always admired,” told graduates, “If you pursue your dreams and do what you love, you can never fail.” 

MoMA director Lowry was honored to receive his degree, he said, because “Pratt’s tradition of distinction has set a standard that all of us in the art world aspire to.” 

Finally, film director Soderbergh gave a list of 17 things he’d learned since the last time he wore a cap and gown—when he graduated from high school. The last item was, “Patti Smith is very cool.”   

References (7)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (1)

Pandora braceletswork which has a branded foundation which usually includes a threaded

conclusion along with particular "clips" to help you keep any necklaces safeguarded as well

as position. Because of this pandora, the

real anklet bracelets as a result of no signifies option the particular common "chain"

layout plus fashion and therefore are as a substitute readily available even though silver

and gold "serpent" stores, tinted silk cotton cords, together with secure leather-based


March 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpandora

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.