Against the backdrop of the luminous Manhattan skyline, Pratt Institute honored four icons in art, design, and the written word at the Legends 2013 gala held at the Mandarin Oriental on November 11. With donations nearing $800,000, the event raised the second largest sum in the history of Pratt gatherings following last year’s 125th Anniversary Gala.
The Institute’s benefit celebrated Pratt alumnus and renowned interior designer David Easton, journalist and The New York Times best-selling author Pete Hamill, Architectural Digest editor in chief Margaret Russell, and groundbreaking contemporary artist James Turrell. The event's co-chairs were Sondra and David S. Mack, Bruce M. Newman (B.F.A. Interior Design ’53) and Judith Newman, Susan and Mark D. Stumer (Bachelor of Architecture ’74), and Jane and David Walentas.
A portion of the Legends 2013 ceremony was dedicated to commemorating Pratt Institute President Thomas F. Schutte’s 20th anniversary at the institution with a surprise: the announcement of the Thomas F. and Tess L. Schutte Endowed Scholarship Fund. All of the proceeds from the evening will go toward the fund, which is also accepting tax-deductible contributions through the Pratt website.
Several of the honorees and speakers discussed the evolution of the Pratt campus from a small, local school to a prestigious, globally recognized name.
Pratt Trustee Robert H. Siegel (B. Arch. ’62) credited Schutte with this change, recalling his push to increase on-campus housing. “When I went to Pratt, it was a commuter school. It was particularly hard, as an architect, bringing models on the subway,” he said.
Pete Hamill recalled growing up in Brooklyn and how much his mother, an Irish immigrant, valued his education. He compared his childhood to those of today’s new immigrants or their children who hope to attend Pratt.
“For these kids, men and women, the future is right up the block or only a subway ride away,” said Hamill.
Margaret Russell, meanwhile, said she was looking forward to expanding her involvement with Pratt.
“Honestly, I don’t feel like a legend at all, but I can give promising design talents a voice. That’s what I can do,” she said.
Presenters of the evening’s honors included: Martha Stewart (David Easton); Bob Giraldi (Pete Hamill); David Rockwell (Margaret Russell); and Carmen Giménez (James Turrell). The sculpted glass award that each honoree received was designed by Pratt students Alexander Pinks and Isabella Minkyung Shin, both of whom will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in Industrial Design next May.