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Pratt Institute Honors David Easton at LEGENDS Gala

On Monday night, Pratt Institute hosted its 14th annual LEGENDS gala at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York. Over 350 guests turned out for the event, dressed in their best “festive wear.” With an audience of noteworthy designers and architects, a sweeping view of Central Park, and marvelous interiors by HBA—whose own Inge Moore just received the Gold Key Designer of the Year Award—it was difficult to determine what the main attraction was.

That is, until Ted Allen, host of the Food Network’s Chopped and emcee for the night, and Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte kicked off the evening’s ceremony. Attendees found their seats at tables graced with intricate centerpieces of yellow lily trellises and turned their attention to the front. The honorees for the evening included interior designer David Easton, journalist Pete Hamill, Architectural Digest editor in chief Margaret Russell, and contemporary artist James Turrell.

Of the group, only Hamill and Easton attended Pratt, though all of the honorees echoed their appreciation and admiration for Pratt and the students who come out of the institution. Speaking of his time in college, Hamill said, “I had very little money but it was one of the richest times in my life. I carry with me what I learned at Pratt and will carry it with me until I’m walked off into Green-Wood [Cemetery].”

Other notable faces included Martha Stewart, filmmaker Bob Giraldi, architect David Rockwell, and curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Carmen Giménez, all of whom served as presenters for the awards. This year’s sculpted glass award was designed by two students from Pratt’s Industrial Design program, Alexander Pinks (‘14) and Isabella Minkyung Shin (‘14).

In addition to the traditional awards, a special presentation was made for President Schutte, commemorating his 20th anniversary of serving as Pratt’s leader. The creation of a new student scholarship program, the Thomas F. and Tess L. Schutte Endowed Scholarship Fund, was announced. Bruce Newman, lifetime trustee of Pratt, spoke highly of the man who has dedicated so much passion and energy to the organization.

More than a simple celebration, LEGENDS also serves as a major fundraising opportunity for the school. This year’s affair raised nearly $800,000 to fund student scholarships.