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Gateway is the community newsletter of Pratt Institute. It is published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement. For a list of contributors, click here.

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Tuesday
Jan292013

Sirovich Family Commits $2.5 Million to Create Professorship For Math and Art

Pratt Institute Chair of Mathematics and Science Carole SirovichIn honor of Mathematics and Science Chair Carole Hochman Sirovich, her husband Lawrence Sirovich and their son Matthew have made a $2.5 million commitment to establish the Sirovich Family Professorship of Mathematics for the Arts in Pratt’s School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The professorship, which also honors Libby Silverstein Sirovich, Lawrence’s mother and Matthew’s grandmother, aims to promote cross-disciplinary collaborations and initiatives to explore connections between mathematics and art, design, and architecture. In so doing, it will highlight the potential role of mathematics in the creation of art, in the way that people experience art, and will provide new opportunities for the Pratt community to discover the mathematical beauty at the heart of art, design, and architecture.

“We created this professorship to honor Carole, a profoundly inspiring teacher of Pratt students and her own children, and to honor my mother who was my best teacher,” said Lawrence Sirovich. “It is our hope that this professorship will perpetuate and advance the deep and penetrating connections of mathematics with art, architecture, and design."

“This is a truly transformative gift for Pratt Institute. This endowed professorship, the first in Pratt’s history for a full-time faculty position, will play a vital role in helping to build Pratt’s professoriate—one of the Institute’s top priorities—by attracting a leading scholar and educator. At the same time, it opens exciting new arenas of interdisciplinary exploration, an academic approach for which Pratt is known,” said Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte. “I am deeply grateful to the entire Sirovich family for their tremendous generosity and foresight in establishing the Sirovich Family Professorship of Mathematics for the Arts.”  

The gift will support the professor’s research activities, scholarly pursuits, and other related initiatives. In so doing, it will bolster Pratt’s increasingly strong reputation in the liberal arts and sciences. Most recently, the Institute was ranked 20th in the region (up from 26th) in U.S. News and World Report's prestigious “Best Colleges 2013” publication. The rankings covered 98 institutions in the U.S. News’s Regional Universities North category that provide a full range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

“Pratt is unique among the nation’s art and design colleges for its robust liberal arts offerings, particularly in math and science. The Institute is already making a name for itself in the field of science and art, thanks to the leadership of key faculty members,” said Andrew W. Barnes, Dean of Pratt’s School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I anticipate that the Sirovich Family Professorship of Mathematics for the Arts will allow Pratt to create a groundbreaking academic and research program at the intersection of mathematics and art, design, and architecture and will revolutionize the approach to these disciplines.”

Lawrence is a mathematical scientist whose career spans many decades in wide ranging fields. Carole and Lawrence’s daughter, Brenda, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Dartmouth Medical School and Matthew is an investment firm founder and managing partner of Manhattan based Scopia Capital LLC. The couple has two grandchildren, Lucas and Eliza, who they believe will be heard from in the future.

Text: Charlotte Savidge
Photo: Courtesy Professor Damon Chaky

Tuesday
Jan292013

Thom Browne To Be Honored at 2013 Pratt Fashion Show Benefit

Pratt Institute Fashion Visionary Award Recipient Thom Browne.Pratt's senior class of fashion designers will present their final thesis collections at the 2013 Pratt Fashion Show on Thursday, April 25. Renowned American designer Thom Browne will be honored with the 2013 Pratt Institute Fashion Visionary Award.

Featuring collections pre-selected by a panel of industry experts and press, the show will take place at 6 PM at Center548 at 548 West 22nd Street in Manhattan. A cocktail benefit in honor of Browne will follow at The Top of the Standard at 848 Washington Street in Manhattan. Tickets to the 6 PM fashion show and the 7:30 PM benefit are available for purchase at pratt.edu/fashionshowProceeds from ticket sales will benefit student scholarships and the Department of Fashion. Funding for the fashion show was awarded in part through a competitive grant presented to Pratt by the Importer Support Program of the Cotton Board and managed by Cotton Incorporated.      

"No American sportswear designer better represents the aspirations of Pratt fashion than Thom Browne. His highly conceptual runway presentations and impeccable craftsmanship have set standards for excellence and originality that push forward and inspire our fashion students to do the same," said Jennifer Minniti, Chair of Pratt's Department of Fashion. "Browne revolutionized menswear, not only by changing the cut and silhouette, but by changing the conversation, and is now doing the same for womenswear. His ability to reconcile art and commerce is extraordinary and surely the key to the future vitality of American fashion."

Browne is founder and head of design of Thom Browne, an impeccably tailored menswear and womenswear brand based in New York City. Browne's traditionally-based handmade suits have evolved into designs that have drawn attention from the fashion and design industry worldwide. His work was most recently seen on an international stage when First Lady Michelle Obama donned an original navy bespoke coat and dress design at President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C. No stranger to Washington, he was honored with the 2012 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for fashion at a White House luncheon hosted by Michelle Obama in July 2012. He was also honored with the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award in 2006.

Browne began his business with five suits and by appointment only in 2001 and introduced his ready-to-wear collection in 2003. The Thom Browne collection is available at luxury specialty stores around the world, including Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York, New York; Colette, Paris; Harrods and Dover Street Market, London; and Isetan, Restir, and United Arrows, Tokyo. 

Past Pratt Fashion Show honorees include Fern Mallis, Hamish Bowles, Catherine Malandrino, Carmen Marc Valvo, Narciso Rodriguez, and Diane von Furstenberg.

For tickets, please click here.
Additional information: email fashionshow@pratt.edu or call 718-399-4548
Press inquiries: email press@pratt.edu


Photo: Circe

Tuesday
Jan222013

Film/Video Department to adopt New Curriculum and Relocate

The Institute has approved a new curriculum for the Film/Video Department in the School of Art and Design while plans are under way to move the department to a new space on campus as part of Pratt’s campus master planning initiative.

The new curriculum is designed to emphasize the fundamental techniques of digital cinema production while simultaneously encouraging the development of non-traditional video content, which is evolving from the twentieth-century reality of video production, exhibition, and distribution. In addition to the focused core classes, students will also be expected to take an array of electives from within specialized areas of Film/Video as well as in related departments. Reflecting the nature of video making as it exists in today's world, the new curriculum will offer a robust cross-disciplinary education. Aspects of the new curriculum will be adopted in Fall 2013 with full implementation planned for Fall 2014.

The Institute plans to relocate the department to 550 Myrtle Avenue, the current location of the Prattstore, as of Fall 2014. Reflecting national trends, Pratt administration identified the Film/Video Department as a growth area in terms of enrollment. The department facilities are currently located in the lower level of the Athletic Resource Center (ARC), but they are inadequate for the needs of the department, according to administrators.

School of Art and Design Acting Dean Leighton Pierce said that the reconfiguration of 550 Myrtle Avenue into an academic space for Film/Video will create a state of the art production facility for the updated program while increasing undergraduate student enrollment from 50 to 200 over the course of four to six years. The new facility will also pave the way for the development of the new master’s degree program in Film/Video, while simultaneously providing opportunities for students from other programs across the campus to take courses offered by the Department of Film/Video.

“The new curriculum will help position Pratt’s Department of Film/Video as an innovative leader in its field over the coming decades while the new space will serve as a dynamic hub to support student digital cinema production,” said Pierce. "Video is the new writing; it is an essential communication and artistic tool in today's world. This facility and curricular expansion anticipates its growing presence in the future media landscape."

Following a competitive selection process, Pratt chose architectural firm WASA/Studio A, the same firm that designed Pratt’s Myrtle Hall at 536 Myrtle Avenue, to redesign the space to best accommodate the needs of the department. Initial plans include two sound stages, a sound-mixing facility, a screening room, and state-of-the-art studios and classrooms.

Renovations are planned to begin in the summer of 2013.

Text: Amy Aronoff