On Wednesday, May 15, degree candidates will don their caps and gowns at the renowned Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. The Institute will celebrate the accomplishments of over 1,300 graduating students, conferring degrees during a ceremony starting at 10 AM. 

This year, distinguished art and cultural historian Sarah Lewis will deliver the Commencement address and receive an honorary degree, while Pratt Institute alumna Doris Magsaysay Ho, president and CEO of Magsaysay Transport and Logistics Group, and Pratt Institute alumnus John Pai, a sculptor and Pratt Institute professor emeritus, will also receive honorary degrees.

Sarah Lewis’s honorary degree will be conferred in recognition of her pioneering work as an art and cultural historian. Through her vigorous research, publications, and public engagements, as well as her groundbreaking Vision and Justice initiative, she has illuminated the capacity of visual images to effect change and social progress in America. Lewis is an art and cultural historian, an associate professor at Harvard University, and the founder of Vision & Justice. Her research delves into the intersection of visual representation, racial justice, and democracy in the United States. Notable works include The Rise and Carrie Mae Weems, winner of the 2021 Photography Network Book Prize. Lewis received the Freedom Scholar Award in 2019 and was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow in 2022. Her forthcoming publications include The Unseen Truth, Vision & Justice, and Groundwork: Race and Aesthetics in the Era of Stand Your Ground Law

With a background in curatorial roles at The Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern, she’s a frequent speaker at prestigious venues and has been featured in prominent publications. Lewis’s research has garnered support from esteemed institutions, including the Ford Foundation and the New York Public Library. She holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford, Courtauld Institute of Art, and Yale University, residing in New York City and Cambridge, MA, and serving on various boards and committees. 

Doris Magsaysay Ho’s honorary degree will be conferred in recognition of her many achievements in the realms of entrepreneurship, global engagement, and intercultural exchange. Magsaysay Ho is the president and CEO of the Magsaysay Group of Companies, engaged in shipping and logistics, human resources and business process outsourcing services, and education and training, with its head offices in the Philippines and Hong Kong. Magsaysay Ho has a master’s degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute. After a few years working in design, she decided to join the family business, moving from Hong Kong to live in Manila. She is actively involved in business organizations like the Makati Business Club, the Private Sector Advisory Committee on Jobs, and the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee. She serves as chair of Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association (Bermuda). She is also trustee of the Philippine Business for Education, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation, and other organizations that rally the business sector to address important issues facing the country. She is a trustee of the Asia Society (New York); the Asia Society Philippine Center, where she serves as chair; the Metropolitan Museum Manila; The Galeón; Ang Misyon Inc., and its flagship, the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth. She is a global council member of the International House of Japan. 

In 2015, Philippine President Benigno Aquino conferred her with the Gawad (Award) Mabini, with the rank of commander (Dakilang Kasugo), for her work as the chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). She was also awarded Global Filipino Executive of the Year in 2012 by Asia CEO Awards. She has also received recognition from international maritime organizations: a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 by Lloyd’s List Asia, a Personality of the Year Award in 2018 by Seatrade, and a Personality Award in 2022 by Safety4Sea Crew Welfare. Magsaysay Ho has three children, Alexandra, Jesse, and Patrick, and eight grandchildren. 

John Pai’s honorary degree will be conferred in recognition of his influential career as a sculptor and visual artist whose work reflects a visionary spirit, and embodies a true celebration of interdisciplinarity and multiculturalism. During his long tenure at Pratt, he nurtured generations of young talent and shaped the Institute profoundly. Pai, with a career spanning over seven decades, delves into themes that offer insight into the timeless connections defining our shared human experience. From the 1960s to the present, Pai’s intricate ink drawings and hand-welded sculptural works in copper-coated steel rods reflect his deep passion for music, science, nature, and storytelling. A pivotal figure in Pratt’s evolution into a fine arts institution, Pai became the youngest professor and director of the Division of Fine Arts Undergraduate Sculpture Department at just 27 years old, maintaining his influential role for over four decades. 

Recognized globally, his work has been exhibited in prestigious venues such as LACMA, the Smithsonian, and the Brooklyn Museum, among others. Notably, Pai was commissioned to design the Korean Pavilion for the World’s Fair in 1964 and has received accolades including the Presidential Citation from the Republic of Korea in 2001 and the Rowena Reed Kostellow Award in 2022. His comprehensive monograph, Liquid Steel, was published in 2023 and, in 2024, the Korean Cultural Center of New York honored him with a retrospective titled Eternal Moment. Further celebrating his legacy, a one-man show is scheduled at the Hyundai Gallery in Seoul, Korea, in August 2024.