Neil Gaiman (photo by Beowulf Sheehan)
Pratt Institute will honor this year’s graduating students with an online celebration. The Celebration of the Class of 2020 will commemorate the achievements of more than 1,300 graduating students on Saturday, May 30 on Pratt’s website.
The online celebration for spring graduates does not replace Pratt’s in-person Commencement ceremony, but is meant to mark the moment of its graduating class’s completion of degree work, and honor and salute their academic achievement.
The celebration will consist of a series of virtual elements on Pratt’s website, including a special address by Commencement honoree and speaker, the renowned author and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman. Gaiman’s honorary degree will be conferred in recognition of the extraordinary breadth of his imagination; his prolific writing across genres and formats including comics, short stories, novels, children's books, and screenplays; and his lasting impact on popular culture. Students and their families will also be able to hear remarks by Pratt President Frances Bronet, as well as Pratt’s Distinguished Teacher for 2020-2021, and the undergraduate and graduate student speakers. Graduating students will be acknowledged, along with their degrees, and there will be an optional component to engage students via social media.
Acknowledgement of the 50th anniversary of Pratt’s class of 1970 will also be included in the online presentation. The class of 1970 is the only graduating Pratt class to not have had a commencement ceremony, which was cancelled in the aftermath of the shootings at Kent State University.
The Institute will also host an online complement to Pratt Shows, its annual celebration of student work. The website does not eliminate the opportunity for future in-person exhibitions for the class of 2020, but will serve as a voluntary showcase and archive of students' work.
Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Pratt had previously announced the cancellation of all in-person events including its Commencement ceremony, which was scheduled to take place at Radio City Music Hall.