It is with deep sadness that Pratt shares the news of the death of Chris Kasik, director of residential life in Student Affairs for almost 30 years. During Chris’s long tenure, he supported generations of residential students and residence hall staff and cultivated a vibrant campus environment.
Chris came to the Institute in 1992 following several years in residential life and housing management at New York University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1996, he became Pratt’s director of residential life and student conduct coordinator. In both 2004 and 2021, he served as interim vice president for student affairs.
Under his leadership, Pratt’s on-campus population increased from 900 to 1,900 students through the construction of two new residence halls—Stabile and Emerson Place—multiple renovation projects, and the master lease and purchase of Grand Avenue Residence. Student satisfaction with the on-campus community experience greatly benefited from Chris’s thoughtful oversight and his steadfast commitment to their growth and development. His contributions were pivotal in enriching students’ connection to campus and ensuring it was a place where they would thrive.
“From the day of my arrival, Chris was eager to show me around and introduce me to Pratt and the Pratt community and to tell me about how talented Pratt students are,” said Delmy M. Lendof, vice president for student affairs. “His love for Pratt and passion for serving students were like no other. Until his very last days, he was still thinking about Pratt and how to support our students, his staff, and colleagues. His smile, energy, and ‘sure sure sure’ attitude will be greatly missed.”
Before his impactful career in fostering student life, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and a Master of Science in Counseling and Student Development from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He received a post-graduate diploma in human resources management from New York University.
As stated in his obituary, “Milwaukee was always home for him, but he created a life in New York that he loved.” Along with his work at Pratt, he volunteered for decades with the GMHC (formerly Gay Men’s Health Crisis) and traveled extensively with his partner Raj Singh.
“Throughout his 30 years at Pratt, he impacted more than 45,000 students who lived in the residence halls,” said Emma Legge, director of student involvement. “He would always strive to do the right thing and spent countless hours with students, families, faculty, and staff to make sure everyone was heard and understood.”
“He was committed to student learning and development and saw the potential in students even in difficult circumstances,” said Katherine Hale, associate director of residential life and housing. “He worked continually to make Pratt a better place to live and work, and his work was marked by humor and unyielding optimism.”
Pratt offers condolences to Chris’s partner, his family, friends, colleagues, and all those whom he loved and celebrates his legacy in the many lives that he touched. A visitation and celebration of life will be held this Saturday at the Feerick Funeral Home in Shorewood, Wisconsin, and will be live streamed. His family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations in Chris’s honor can be made to the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee.