Pratt Institute, one of the world’s most prestigious colleges of art, design, and architecture, will kick off its 125th anniversary week with a golden gala on October 15, 2012. The event, the Institute’s largest fundraiser to date, has raised a record-breaking amount through ticket sales for student scholarships, and will celebrate Pratt’s rich history and impressive roster of alumni and faculty at New York’s famed Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. Designed in 1929 by Pratt alumnus Lloyd Morgan (Architecture 1911), the Waldorf=Astoria is one of countless examples of Pratt’s iconic cultural legacy.
The October 15 gala event at the Waldorf=Astoria will begin with cocktails at 6 PM, which will be followed by a 7 PM seated dinner and ceremony to honor the Pratt Family, who have actively supported the Institute since its founding by Charles Pratt in 1887; Maximilian Josef Riedel, CEO of Riedel Crystal of North America; Julie Taymor, director of theater, opera, and film; and Kehinde Wiley, artist and contemporary portrait painter. Tickets are required and proceeds will benefit student scholarships, thus enabling aspiring artists, designers, and scholars to pursue and achieve a Pratt education. Gala attendees are being encouraged to wear gold and black attire in honor of Pratt’s school colors of cadmium yellow and black.
This year’s gala will also include the unveiling of works to be featured in “125 Icons,” a new exhibition in honor of the institute’s anniversary featuring the most iconic works by Pratt alumni and faculty as voted on by members of the public. The exhibition will open at Pratt Manhattan Gallery this November and run through January 2013.
“Pratt’s 125th anniversary celebration commemorates Pratt’s extraordinary history of achievement and its reputation as one of the world’s most preeminent colleges of art and design,” said Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte. “We are excited to build upon Pratt’s legacy of success and innovation,” he added.
The gala is one of several events celebrating Pratt’s 125th anniversary that will take place in New York City this fall. In addition to the gala, Pratt will be celebrated in a half-hour long documentary titled “Treasures of New York: Pratt Institute,” which will air Tuesday, October 16 from 10:30-11:00 PM on WLIW21 and Thursday, October 18 from 8:30-9 PM on WNET13. The program, which is hosted by former Pratt student and celebrated writer Pete Hamill, will go inside the college to discover its storied history and explore its architectural and cultural impact. The program is also available to national audiences at the series website. Details on additional 125th events, including a campus-wide celebration to take place on the anniversary of the Institute’s founding on October 17, will be made available closer to the date.
When Pratt opened its doors in 1887, Charles Pratt wanted to give artisans an opportunity to learn their trade and make a living from it. That basic principle of applied science, which was considered a revolutionary philosophy at the time, continues to influence the curriculum at Pratt and other institutions nationally.
Now, as an arts and commerce epicenter, Pratt sets the institutional standard. The college ranks among the top design schools in the world by BusinessWeek and its interior design, industrial design, and architecture programs are consistently ranked among the top 10 nationwide. Additionally, Pratt’s campus was recently named one of the 10 college campuses with the best architecture by Architectural Digest.
Throughout its history, Pratt Institute alumni and faculty have produced works of art, architecture, and design that changed the world. New York’s Chrysler Building (William van Alen), covers of Esquire magazine (Geroge Lois), Sesame Street’s beloved Big Bird (Kermit Love), Scrabble (Alfred Mosher Butts), OXO Good Grips (Tucker Viemeister), and the Dunkin Doughnuts logo (Lucia Derespinis) are just a few of the iconic designs created by Pratt alumni. To view these iconic works and more by Pratt alumni and faculty, please visit Pratt’s Icons Gallery. The top 125 works from this gallery will be on view in the Pratt Manhattan gallery exhibition in November.
The 125th Gala Honorary Committee comprises esteemed architects, designers, politicians, media influencers, and artists including: Mario Buatta ’90 (Hon.), Christo ’94 (Hon.), Amanda Dameron, Wendy Goodman, Helmut Jahn, Ellsworth Kelly ’44, Michael Kimmelman, Daniel Libeskind ’10 (Hon.), George Lois ’52, George Lucas, Fern Mallis, James McBride ’05 (Hon.), Mary McFadden, Richard Meier ’99 (Hon.), Mark Morris ’03 (Hon.), Beverly Pepper ’42, Elizabeth Peyton, Sylvia Plachy ’65, Martin Puryear ‘90 (Hon.), Karim Rashid, Narciso Rodriguez, Margaret Russell, Stefan Sagmeister ’89, The Honorable Charles E. Schumer, Annabelle Selldorf ’85, Neal Shapiro, Danny Simmons, Pat Steir ’62, Twyla Tharp, Mickalene Thomas ’00, Carmen Marc Valvo, Laura Walker, William Wegman and Christine Burgin.
Gala Chairs include CulinArt, Young Ho Kim ’71, James and Marjorie Kuhn, Sondra and David S. Mack, Bruce M. Newman ’53 and Judith Newman, and David and Jane Walentas. “Hon.” Indicates an honorary degree from Pratt and class year indicates that the person is a Pratt graduate.
Members of the press who are interested in covering the event may contact Kelly Galvin or Emily Mendez-Penate at T: 212-957-3005 or; The general public may pre-order tickets, please visit or contact Pratt Director of Special Events Katie Hush at 718.399.4486 or by email at