100 Years of NYSID Graduations

On May 18, 2016, after years of designing spaces large and small, NYSID’s Class of 2016 took a triumphant walk across the stage to receive their diplomas at the college’s 2016 commencement exercises. The Class of 2016 had the honor of graduating in the College’s centennial year, and their accomplishments have been included in a year-long celebration of events and initiatives that have included the Annual Benefit Dinner, the successful Interior Design Today: Alumni Exhibition, special student projects, and a 100 year timeline display.

In honor of this year’s commencement, here is a behind-the-scenes look back at some graduation photos and highlights of the last 100 years of NYSID commencement ceremonies and celebrations.

1920's

 NYSID Class of 1923: The 1928 NYSID Bulletin details exciting news and events from the school’s commencement celebrations including the “most successful alumni luncheon yet,” which took place at NYC’s Biltmore Hotel in the spring of 1928 with over 150 NYSID graduates in attendance. Faculty member  Lucy Taylor  gave a speech, in which she assured graduates, “the taste of the public is rapidly improving and the demand for decorators is far surpassing the supply.”

NYSID Class of 1923: The 1928 NYSID Bulletin details exciting news and events from the school’s commencement celebrations including the “most successful alumni luncheon yet,” which took place at NYC’s Biltmore Hotel in the spring of 1928 with over 150 NYSID graduates in attendance. Faculty member Lucy Taylor gave a speech, in which she assured graduates, “the taste of the public is rapidly improving and the demand for decorators is far surpassing the supply.”

1930's

 NYSID Class of 1938: Due to the hardships of the depression, not many special ceremonies and celebrations were held for NYSID graduations in the 1930s, but the accomplishments of the school’s graduates were still made known to the world. This  New York Times  announcement from June 14, 1935 proclaims the graduation of 56 students who received “diplomas or certificates of proficiency in interior design, industrial design, and practical decorating.”

NYSID Class of 1938: Due to the hardships of the depression, not many special ceremonies and celebrations were held for NYSID graduations in the 1930s, but the accomplishments of the school’s graduates were still made known to the world. This New York Times announcement from June 14, 1935 proclaims the graduation of 56 students who received “diplomas or certificates of proficiency in interior design, industrial design, and practical decorating.”

1940's

 NYSID Class of 1949: In his address at the Annual Graduate Luncheon on May 27, 1948, NYSID founder  Sherrill Whiton  gave solid advice to the Class of 1948: “I believe that you have obtained the best training in the subject of interior decoration that is offered anywhere in the world. While the beginning may be slow the advancement is much more rapid than for someone who has not had your training. I know that you will commence your work with great confidence and maintain your courage. I wish you all good luck.”

NYSID Class of 1949: In his address at the Annual Graduate Luncheon on May 27, 1948, NYSID founder Sherrill Whiton gave solid advice to the Class of 1948: “I believe that you have obtained the best training in the subject of interior decoration that is offered anywhere in the world. While the beginning may be slow the advancement is much more rapid than for someone who has not had your training. I know that you will commence your work with great confidence and maintain your courage. I wish you all good luck.”

1950's

 NYSID Class of 1956: 1956 NYSID alumnus  Joseph Grusczak,  whose professional interior design collection is now housed in the  NYSID Archives , recalls how the school's year-end commencement exhibitions often garnered the attention of industry professsionals. “Considerable interest at NYSID’s exhibitions set in motion invitations to join design firms. It became clear how important exposure at such student exhibitions were.  As a result, work flowed my way and never stopped in my half-century of designing. My hat is off to the New York School of Interior Design.”    (Top row, far left: Joe Grusczak)

NYSID Class of 1956: 1956 NYSID alumnus Joseph Grusczak, whose professional interior design collection is now housed in the NYSID Archives, recalls how the school's year-end commencement exhibitions often garnered the attention of industry professsionals. “Considerable interest at NYSID’s exhibitions set in motion invitations to join design firms. It became clear how important exposure at such student exhibitions were.  As a result, work flowed my way and never stopped in my half-century of designing. My hat is off to the New York School of Interior Design.”  

(Top row, far left: Joe Grusczak)

1960's

 NYSID Class of 1963: The commencement ceremony and reception that took place at the St. Regis Hotel on May 31, 1968 was a swanky affair. Distinguished architect and guest speaker  James R. LaMantia  told graduates “you should be joyful about your decision to pursue interior design and thankful that you have found within yourselves the will to make it. The degree to which you embrace your objective is the degree to which you will succeed.”

NYSID Class of 1963: The commencement ceremony and reception that took place at the St. Regis Hotel on May 31, 1968 was a swanky affair. Distinguished architect and guest speaker James R. LaMantia told graduates “you should be joyful about your decision to pursue interior design and thankful that you have found within yourselves the will to make it. The degree to which you embrace your objective is the degree to which you will succeed.”

1970's

 NYSID Class of 1972: In his address at the 1970 commencement ceremony, guest speaker and interior designer  Louis Tregre  promised graduates that interior design is, “a truly exciting profession because we have it in our power to create and establish workable and beautiful surroundings in which man spends 80 to 90 percent of his time working, living, and entertaining himself. It’s a tall order and one that does require your entire dedication and involvement, but it is also the most rewarding.”

NYSID Class of 1972: In his address at the 1970 commencement ceremony, guest speaker and interior designer Louis Tregre promised graduates that interior design is, “a truly exciting profession because we have it in our power to create and establish workable and beautiful surroundings in which man spends 80 to 90 percent of his time working, living, and entertaining himself. It’s a tall order and one that does require your entire dedication and involvement, but it is also the most rewarding.”

1980's

 NYSID Class of 1984: Former editor of  Vogue  and  Harper’s Bazaar    Sarah Tomerlin Lee  was the guest speaker at NYSID’s 1988 commencement ceremony that took place at the University Club. Lee spoke of the honor of being a part of such a noble profession, “This is the gateway moment of your lives. I am glad we are all interior designers because we can leave the world a far more beautiful view and inspirational place.”

NYSID Class of 1984: Former editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar  Sarah Tomerlin Lee was the guest speaker at NYSID’s 1988 commencement ceremony that took place at the University Club. Lee spoke of the honor of being a part of such a noble profession, “This is the gateway moment of your lives. I am glad we are all interior designers because we can leave the world a far more beautiful view and inspirational place.”

1990's

1997.jpg

NYSID Class of 1997: At the graduation ceremony on May 22, 1997, guest speaker and architect Hugh Hardy reminded graduates that, “creativity is dangerous and new ideas about design are not easily welcome. Nonetheless, you have come here to clarify your own contribution to a long, turbulent history of creative endeavor. As you now go forward into an unknown future, your ideas may not always be welcome, but what you make of them will be of consummate importance to all who follow.”

2000's

 NYSID Class of 2008: In her commencement address on May 19, 2004, interior designer   Clodagh   simply reminded graduates that “good design is like a chocolate truffle, it is consistent through and through. A beautiful room is nothing on a cold day if the heating doesn’t work.”

NYSID Class of 2008: In her commencement address on May 19, 2004, interior designer Clodagh simply reminded graduates that “good design is like a chocolate truffle, it is consistent through and through. A beautiful room is nothing on a cold day if the heating doesn’t work.”

2016

 After receiving an honorary doctorate degree at NYSID's 2016 commencement ceremony on May 18, NYSID trustee and designer   Alexa Hampton   addressed this year’s graduates with candor, humor, and humility, reminding them to "be kind, hardworking, and empathetic to those around you; have a happy workplace, love your colleagues, treat your vendors with humor and gratitude, respect the hell out of your clients--and you will quickly discover that you are already a succes because living and working is a joy."

After receiving an honorary doctorate degree at NYSID's 2016 commencement ceremony on May 18, NYSID trustee and designer Alexa Hampton addressed this year’s graduates with candor, humor, and humility, reminding them to "be kind, hardworking, and empathetic to those around you; have a happy workplace, love your colleagues, treat your vendors with humor and gratitude, respect the hell out of your clients--and you will quickly discover that you are already a succes because living and working is a joy."

Phyllis Greer