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Scholarship Luncheon 2024

three people, standing against a pratt backdrop, with the word "Pratt" in a monogram-like pattern in the background, man wearing dress shirt and tie, smiling, woman with glasses, suit and short hair cut, smiling, older gentleman with suit, smiling in foreground
From left to right: 2024 Annual Scholarship Luncheon Event Speakers Cesar Hidalgo, BID ‘24, Sandy Pollack, BFA ‘76, and Richard Pollack, BArch ‘73 (Photo by Larry McAllister II)

Scholarship Supporters and Students Are Celebrated at the 2024 Scholarship Luncheon at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

On March 1, 2024, members of the Pratt community gathered at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the Scholarship Luncheon. Each year, the luncheon brings together scholarship supporters, students, alumni, and faculty to recognize and celebrate the outstanding scholarship recipients and acknowledge the generosity of the donors who make the scholarships possible.   

Pratt Institute President Frances Bronet welcomed guests with opening remarks emphasizing scholarships’ pivotal and lasting impact on student’s lives and acknowledging the donors for their important contributions. President Bronet spoke about how the scholarships “[pave] the way for our students to explore their creative potential, take a little stress out of their obligations, and achieve a high level of excellence as they work towards becoming the creative leaders of tomorrow.” Pratt awards over 300 named scholarships to over 500 students yearly, reducing financial obstacles and opening doors for students to pursue their passions and build fulfilling careers. 

President Bronet also highlighted three examples of recent scholarships that will “contribute significantly to the realization of a more inclusive and vibrant educational community at Pratt”: The Geraldine Stutz Scholarship, which supports emerging Fashion Design undergraduates, the Robert M. Zaccone Scholarship, which is awarded to outstanding undergraduate architects, and the Synchrony Foundation Scholarship, which aims to promote inclusivity at Pratt by providing support to junior and senior students. 

The luncheon featured two alumni donor speakers and a student speaker. Richard and Sandy Pollack, who established the Richard & Sandra (Popovich) Pollack Scholarship (and are a notable Pratt Pair), talked about meeting at Pratt in the 1970s and the strong foundation their education laid for their future careers. 

As a scholarship recipient herself, Sandy Pollack spoke about the importance of paying the generosity she experienced forward. “Pratt’s reputation, network, and relationship with working professionals allowed students like me to have access to [exciting and lucrative freelance] job opportunities,” she said. “It was important to express gratitude by contributing financially—helping others to fulfill their dreams.”

Richard Pollack extolled the creativity and engagement he encountered on campus, particularly during the tumult of the Vietnam War. “The unique approach Pratt took during those times left a lasting impression on me, showcasing the institution’s commitment to fostering critical thinking.” After Richard Pollack’s speech, the Pollacks surprised President Bronet with a generous contribution to the Richard & Sandra (Popovich) Pollack Scholarship—reaffirming their dedication to Pratt and its creative students.

Cesar Hidalgo, BID ’24, underlined how his scholarship enabled him to pursue his education while holding a part-time job and taking care of familial responsibilities. For him and other students, the scholarships, and Pratt, are a source of security and peace of mind. “You all have made it possible to offer comfort to students who are just like me,” he said. “Donors relieve a lot of the anxiety that comes with pursuing higher education while not having the economic capabilities to pursue a career in art and design.” Hidalgo is currently exploring potential opportunities at furniture and lighting companies post-graduation and feels “confident in my readiness for not only the workforce, but my future.”

A special video featuring Pratt scholarship recipients and the Jane B. Nord Professor of Fashion Design, Byron Lars, was screened, which highlighted the importance of scholarship support. Students shared how Pratt has nourished their creativity as scholarships allowed them to invest deeply in their studies and future careers. Many expressed sincere gratitude—both for opportunities granted to them and for the meaningful recognition of their aspirations.

Following the screening, President Bronet gave final remarks and reminded guests to take home their gift—a captivating set of drink rests showcasing work by Evelyn Meza, BFA ’25, a Graphic Design major and recipient of The Pratt President’s Wallace Augustus Rayfield Scholarship—as a memento of the occasion. A day of celebration, appreciation, and reflection, the Scholarship Luncheon gave students and donors an opportunity to share the transformative and ongoing impact of their collective efforts.

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