Commencement 2012

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On Friday, May 18th, the NYSID community gathered for its 95th Commencement Exercises. NYSID faculty, staff, board members and honored guests joined the 149 graduating students and their families to celebrate their extraordinary accomplishments. You can see the photos here.

The picturesque view from Jazz at Lincoln Center, which overlooks Columbus Circle and Central Park, was the perfect backdrop for the students and the amazing powerhouses of design and style that received honorary doctorate degrees: interior designer Amy Lau, who was also the commencement speaker; famed lifestyle guru Martha Stewart; Architectural Digest editor-in-chief Margaret Russell; and interior designer John Saladino. As pointed out by Acting President and Executive Vice President David Sprouls in his welcome remarks, “Anywhere you travel in the country—whether you’re in L.A. or Miami or Maine—all distances to New York City are measured to the center of Columbus Circle.  Truly, all roads lead here.  And from here, you can go anywhere.”

Amy Lau, principal of Amy Lau Design, gave an inspiring speech that was full of practical advice. She touched upon what she has learned in the 20 years as a designer, curator and business-owner and “someone who is fortunate to begin everyday engaged in the professional passion of my life.” She summed it all up nicely in the “Five Lessons I’ve Learned”:

  1. Stuff Happens—So Remain Calm and Capable
    “If it can go wrong in our business, I guarantee, at some point, it will”
  2. Perseverance pays off
    “Whatever life brings you, you have to remember one thing—you will get through it. Let your talent, your drive, your knowledge that what you do has a value and purpose.”
  3. Turn disadvantages into advantages.
    “When I was at Sotheby’s, all of my classmates had attended Ivy-League schools and I thought to myself “How can I succeed?” I’ll tell you how: I studied and studied—and I studied again. I was able to transform a disadvantage—or what I believed was a disadvantage—into an advantage. You will too.”
  4. Innovate, Innovate, Innovate!
    “When someone asks you to design a fabric line or write a book—go for it—even if you don’t know the first thing about designing a fabric line or publishing—take it from me, you’ll learn.”
  5. Never stop learning
    “Always develop new abilities and interests throughout your life. Take training courses, attend conferences, challenge yourself.”

Every year, we also recognize outstanding students and faculty at commencement with a number of special awards. This year, the Chairman’s Award, which recognizes outstanding creative achievements, was given to Heather Clinger (MFA post-professional level), Kylie Sarley (MFA pre-professional level), Taruan Mabry (MPS in Sustainable Interior Environments), and Wendy Cruz-Gonzalez (MPS in Interior Lighting Design).

In addition, Sofia Juperius received the Ana Blanc Verna Award for Excellence in Interior Design, which is given to a senior in the BFA program who has demonstrated and expressed creativity throughout their entire course of study. Catharine Suzy Genzler received The Alumni Award, which is given to an academically outstanding graduate who has also performed exceptional services to the School and its community. And Ho Youn Yi was awarded the Travel Prize. Ho will travel to iconic historical and modern spaces of Europe and Korea to conduct an indepth exploration of walls – what they signify in the built environment -- spiritually, culturally, and socially, and across cultures and countries.

Last but not least, Terry Kleinberg received the William Breger Faculty Achievement Award. She has been teaching at the college since 1991 and has served as faculty representative on the Board of Trustees since 2008.

It was a great day and we are so proud of all of this year’s graduates. We look forward to learning about your future professional and creative successes!

Phyllis Greer