Pratt Institute will present approximately 1,400 degrees to its graduating bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates during its 121st Commencement at 11 a.m. on May 17 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Institute also will award honorary degrees to former New York City Landmarks Commissioner Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel; novelist Jonathan Lethem; architect Daniel Libeskind; The Museum of Modern Art Director Glenn Lowry; director Steven Soderbergh; and musician, poet, and performer Patti Smith. Smith will deliver the Commencement address and perform at the ceremony.

Photo Credit:©Edward Mapplethorpe

For the second consecutive year in Pratt’s Commencement history, graduates will receive diplomas on stage at Radio City Music Hall. Radio City is the largest indoor theater in the world; more than 300 million visitors have been entertained and thrilled by performances held in its interior, which received city landmark status more than thirty years ago.

Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel is one of New York City’s leading champions of the arts. She served as New York City’s first director of cultural affairs and was the city’s longest-serving landmarks commissioner. Also an author and producer, she has written several books, including the forthcoming The Landmarks of New York, V.

Jonathan Lethem is a Brooklyn-based writer who has written eight novels, including The Fortress of Solitude and Chronic City. His sixth book, Motherless Brooklyn, won numerous awards, including the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. In 2005, he won a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

Daniel Libeskind has designed some of the world’s most celebrated buildings, including the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Denver Art Museum, and the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, England. Among the architect’s most recently completed work is Crystals at CityCenter in Las Vegas which opened in December 2009 and the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, which opened in March 2010. He currently has projects under construction in China, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Ireland, and the United States.

Glenn Lowry has served as director of The Museum of Modern Art since 1995, guiding the museum’s major capital campaign for its renovation and expansion. He is the author of several books and articles, including The Museum of Modern Art in This Century.

Patti Smith is an iconic performer, poet, and visual artist. Her extensive music catalogue includes the seminal 1975 album “Horses,” and in 2007 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Smith is touring with her new book Just Kids, about her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, with whom she began working while he was a student at Pratt.

Steven Soderbergh recently directed his twenty-third film, the spy thriller Knockout, starring mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano. He received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for his directorial debut, Sex, lies, and videotape and the Academy Award for directing Traffic the same year he was nominated for Erin Brockovich. Among his other credits are the films And Everything is Going Fine, The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant, Che, the Ocean’s trilogy, The Good German, Bubble, Solaris, Full Frontal, The Limey, Out of Sight, Gray’s Anatomy, Schizopolis, The Underneath, King of the Hill and Kafka. Most recently, he created and directed the play Tot Mom for the Sydney Theatre Company. While in Sydney he also directed the film The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg.

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