During its commencement ceremony on Friday, May 16, the Pratt Institute will award an honorary degree to designer Karim Rashid, as well as to New York Times Architecture Critic Michael Kimmelman, Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold Lehman and multi-media artist Yoko Ono.
Clockwise from top: Karim Rashid, Michael Kimmelman, Yoko Ono and Arnold Lehman
“I am ecstatic to receive an honorary doctorate from Pratt Institute, particularly because Pratt played a formative role in my career,” said Rashid. “As a young designer in 1993, I was hired on the spot by Peter Barna, the chair of the industrial design department (now Provost of Pratt). With this teaching position, I was able to apply for a US VISA and gather enough to buy a Mac computer. This same computer, I used to launch my solo career.”
Rashid’s honorary degree is conferred in recognition of his innovative work as one of the most prolific designers of his generation, with work touching nearly every aspect of the physical and virtual landscape. A former Pratt industrial design faculty member, Rashid has more than 3,000 designs in production, 300 awards, and work in more than 40 countries. Rashid’s work is also featured in 20 permanent museum collections and he exhibits his art in galleries worldwide.
Semiramis Hotel designed by Rashid
“Today, I might not be in NYC or even have the career I have if it was not for Pratt and its inspiring faculty,” said Rashid. “Pratt has always been a leader; a prescient school with a global vision, with rigor and understanding that creativity is sacred and must be nurtured, molded. The personalized visions, each of us has is original and can shape and change this world.”
Kimmelman, who has written about issues of public housing, public space, infrastructure, community development and social responsibility for the Times, will deliver the Institute's 125th annual commencement address during the ceremony, held at Radio City Music Hall.
The procession begins at 1:00 p.m. when approximately 1,050 graduating students will file into the main auditorium, and the Institute will celebrate their achievements and confer their degrees. Interested parties can view Pratt's commencement in real time on the Pratt website and can follow the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #PrattGrad14.