Interior designer Thom Filicia to speak at NYSID's 2013 Commencement Ceremony

Thom Filicia, Betty Sherrill, and Susan Szenasy to Receive Honorary Doctorate Degrees

New York, NY - April 30, 2013 - New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) is pleased to announce that Thom Filicia, interior designer and chief creative officer of Thom Filicia Inc., will be the keynote speaker at the College’s 2013 commencement ceremony, which will take place on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, NYC.  NYSID is proud to graduate 114 candidates this year: 42 Master of Fine Arts, 21 Master of Professional Studies, 26 Bachelor of Fine Arts, and 25 Associate in Applied Science candidates.

Filicia will receive the College’s Honorary Doctorate degree in Fine Arts, as will Betty Sherrill, chairman of McMillen Inc., and Susan Szenasy, editor in chief of Metropolis magazine.

We are so pleased that Thom Filicia will be our commencement speaker this year,” said NYSID President David Sprouls. “He is known not only for his engaging TV persona, but also for his ability to create stunning modern, yet classic interiors for a range of clientele.”

Keynote Speaker and Honoree: Thom Filicia

From his start at renowned design firms, including Parish-Hadley, Thom Filicia launched his acclaimed enterprise, Thom Filicia Inc. and emerged as one of today’s most influential and respected interior designers. His clients range from Tina Fey, Jennifer Lopez, and Peter Jennings, to those in the worlds of finance, sports, and hospitality. Gaining fame on the Emmy-winning Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Style Network and HGTV, he has been named as a “Top 100 Designer” by House Beautiful and an “A-List” designer by Elle Décor. He is also the driving force behind the Thom Filicia Home Collection, which includes furniture, rugs, textiles, artwork, bedding, pillows, and more. Filicia is the author of Thom Filicia Style (2008) and American Beauty: Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat (2012). Filicia graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design.

Honoree: Betty Sherrill

Betty Stevens Sherrill, a native of New Orleans, moved to New York in 1949, where she attended Parsons, The New School for Design.  In 1951 she became an assistant to the president of McMillen Inc., the first professional, full-service interior design firm in America, founded in 1923 by Eleanor McMillen Brown.  Mrs. Sherrill has remained with McMillen, and her success at the company led to her appointment as president and chief executive officer in 1975. She continues to serve as McMillen’s chairman.  Her daughter Ann Pyne is currently the president of McMillen.

Honoree: Susan Szenasy

Susan S. Szenasy is editor in chief of Metropolis, the award-winning New York City-based magazine of architecture and design. Since 1986 she has lead the magazine through decades of landmark design journalism, achieving domestic and international recognition. She is internationally recognized as an authority on sustainability and design.

Susan served two terms on the boards of the Council for Interior Design Accreditation and the Landscape Architecture Foundation. She’s on the board of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Interior Design department and Center for Architecture Advisory. She’s been honored with two IIDA Presidential Commendations, is an honorary member of the ASLA, and the 2008 recipient of the ASID Patron’s Prize and Presidential Commendation as well as the SARA/NY medallion of honor. Susan holds an MA in Modern European History from Rutgers University, and honorary doctorates from Kendall College of Art and Design, the Art Center College of Design, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.


Founded in 1916, the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) is a private, not-for-profit college devoted exclusively to interior design education and related disciplines. NYSID’s guiding principle is that the interior environment is a fundamental element of human welfare and the College is committed to actively improving the quality of life for all segments of humanity. This ideal is put into practice by a dedicated faculty of well-known designers, architects, art historians, and authorities in the field who guide more than 700 full- and part-time students.

NYSID offers certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs in the field of interior design, design history and theory, sustainable design, interior lighting design, and healthcare interior design. A wide range of classes are also offered through our Institute for Continuing and Professional Studies. The College is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD); is a Candidate for Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; and NYSID’s BFA and MFA-1 programs are accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

This is a private event. For press seats, contact  or call 212-472-1500, ext. 432