Historical Photograph of Pratt Institute Campus


Pratt Institute was founded in 1887 by American industrialist Charles Pratt. An advocate of education and the transformational impact it can have on people’s lives, Pratt set out to provide an affordable college education that was accessible to working men and women. When the college opened in 1887, it was among the first in the country to welcome students regardless of class, color, or gender. The rapidly industrializing economy at the turn of the 20th century required new training initiatives and educational experiences for workers. Pratt responded by providing programs that prepared students to enter the fields of design and engineering. Early Pratt students became architects, engineers, dressmakers, and furniture makers. Pratt’s engineering and design programs were complemented by a liberal arts curriculum that provided students with a rich and full understanding of the world in which they would be working. This approach remains a part of the Pratt curriculum.  

Today, Pratt Institute is transforming academic excellence in architecture, art, design, information studies, and liberal arts and sciences through its defining heritage and visionary future. Since the first class of 12 students convened on Pratt’s Brooklyn campus in 1887, the college has become a top-ranked global leader in higher education with a world-renowned faculty of over 1,100 award-winning artists, designers, architects, writers, and scholars. Realizing that solving today’s pressing challenges means going beyond traditional academic thinking, Pratt’s faculty inspires its students to question the status quo to develop new solutions for real-world problems. With this in mind, the Institute is home to a number of impact-driven centers that push the boundaries of innovation on topics ranging from community development, sustainable fashion, and robotics to data visualization. Pratt’s locations—which include a beautiful 25-acre main campus in Brooklyn and a landmark building in Manhattan—provide unparalleled opportunities for nearly 5,000 students to engage with, and learn from, artistic leaders and local and international industries. In over 75 countries across the globe, Pratt’s 61,000 alumni are advancing the creative economy and shaping the world through their remarkable work.

Pratt Living Land Acknowledgment

Pratt Institute is situated on Lenapehoking, the traditional and unceded homeland of the Lenape people, past, present, and future. The Lenape people have been living on this land long before the United States was established, and their wisdom is essential to our time. 

We acknowledge that the genocide, theft of land and resources, forced migration, and systematic cultural oppression of Indigenous Peoples and Nations have a long-lasting impact on the living conditions, mental health, and cultural lineage of Indigenous Peoples and Nations. We acknowledge that the colonizers and their descendants have benefited economically and socially from the oppression of Indigenous Peoples and Nations, and we commit to repairing inequity and rebalancing the power distribution.  

As learners and educators, we recognize Indigenous Peoples and Nations’ long-time traditions of making art and storytelling. We acknowledge the significance of their creativity and how often they are unrecognized as artists, designers and writers, while their culture is appropriated and taken by other artists, designers and writers.

Only when we are informed of our past can we collectively envision our future. We begin by properly naming the land we reside on and recognizing ourselves as (in)voluntary immigrants to this land. We will actively work to challenge the legacy of settler colonialism, undo its extractive and exploitative land practices, and express gratitude to the stewards of the land and water who came before us, and honor their descendants who are here today.