New York School of Interior Design Celebrates its 2019 Commencement Ceremony

New York, New York – May 24, 2019 – Cheers poured from the seats at 92nd Street Y as the New York School of Interior Design’s 2019 graduates marched across the stage to accept their diplomas, and into the next phase of their lives and careers as interior designers.

Chairman of the New York School of Interior Design Board of Trustees, Ellen Kravet, welcomed the crowd of graduates, friends, families, and alumni to celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2019. “Today 111 students, hailing from 15 countries from around the globe will graduate,” said Kravet. “Last year, in 2018, nearly 100% of our undergraduate and graduate alumni were employed or pursuing further education within six months after their commencement.” She continued, “Let’s reflect on that. Nearly every graduate. That’s a figure to be proud of.”

Inside the storied community center located on the Upper East Side, keynote speakers Nate Berkus and Elaine Griffin delivered powerful messages encouraging students to give themselves permission to take risks and to share their creative superpowers as they implement their vision.

“Everyone in this room is a superhero, because we have all been given an incredible superpower,” said Griffin. “We are creators. We have the supernatural ability to see a completed room where there is nothing.”

Griffin closed out her message sharing with graduates the secret of being great, “If you will seek the soul of everything you do – of your clients, of a table, of a tree whose colors you look to for inspiration, or of a child that just asks for a pretty pink bedroom – if you will seek the soul, and not yourself, you will be unstoppable. And that, graduates, is my wish for you.”

“When we talk about the power of great design, it’s not just about making the world a prettier place. It’s also about the power of design to change people’s lives,” said Newell Turner, New York School of Interior Design Trustee. “This is the belief and practice of Nate Berkus.”

Berkus motivated new graduates to give themselves permission to be who they wanted to be in design, and in life. “Give yourself permission to be honest about what you want and need, and more importantly, what you don’t,” said Berkus. “Replace the word perfect with permission. Give yourself permission to fall apart and to make mistakes, because it frees us up for what makes us all better. Give yourself permission to be inspiring. Give yourself permission to believe you are inspiring.”

At the age of 24, Nate established his now award-winning interior design firm in Chicago. As talent and fate would have it, he was quickly recognized by Oprah Winfrey for his intuitive ability to make the world a better place, even when it’s one room at a time.

“So, in my final bid to leave you with something, be transparent about what you don’t know,” expressed Berkus. “Failure is a forgone conclusion, if you want to do anything worthwhile at least. Give yourself permission every day to make mistakes and to get back up.” He continued, “There’s no secret sauce, no magic combination. You figure it out and do what you can. You surround yourself with people who help you grow and learn, who will help you to be a better designer – even if they challenge you. You show up and you stay true to your core beliefs, about yourself, about design, and about the world.”

Following their remarks, the New York School of Interior Design conferred honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees upon both distinguished interior design leaders.

This year’s Commencement ceremony marks the end of the College’s 103rd year. David Sprouls, president of the New York School of Interior Design informed graduates that graduation does not mean your ties to the institution are severed, instead they are moving to a new phase with a different type of engagement.

“This ceremony does not just represent the end of your time as a student; this ceremony marks the start of a new phase for each of us.”

In 2016, the New York School of Interior Design celebrated its centennial year. Now three years later, firmly in its second century, the College continues to provide students with an extensive interior design foundation and education.

“You’ll soon leave this room and embark on your careers, following paths and opportunities that we can barely conceive of here,” President Sprouls said. “This is the start of what we hope will be long and prosperous career for you, and as you start on this new path, we hope that you’ll keep looking forward, while remembering to give back.”

Among the excited graduates were Paula Victoria Edralin Davidsohn MFA-1 ‘19 and Rachel Edelstein BFA ’19, two students nominated by their peers, as well as NYSID faculty and staff, to speak at Commencement. In addition to excelling academically, the 2019 Commencement student speakers have dedicated their college careers to making an impact through design.

“Let this moment start our journeys to using design to change the world we live in, where we take our enthusiasm and inspiration and use it to stand out,” said Rachel. “This is the first chapter of taking risks, proving ourselves, and testing boundaries that have been set before us.”

“My time working on a trauma-informed design at the Queens Child Advocacy Center taught me how important it is to design the way people experience important milestones and memories,” said Paula Victoria. “There were two siblings, ages six and two. The brother, who was younger was playing with his building blocks, as his sister was preparing dinner for the two in her pretend kitchen. As I was observing the two, I noticed the little boy had burns and scratches on the side of his face. It was in that moment I was encouraged to design with purpose, empathy, and commitment.”

About New York School of Interior Design

New York School of Interior Design is a private, nonprofit college focused exclusively on interior design. The college offers certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs for students at all stages of their careers—whether they’re just becoming familiar with the discipline, considering a career change, or looking to deepen knowledge in a particular area. Consistently ranked one of the top interior design programs in the United States, students study both residential and commercial interior design, some with specialties in sustainable design, lighting, and healthcare interiors. NYSID students enjoy a small class size and sharp focus, a great deal of personal attention from dedicated faculty, and they go on to practice at the highest levels of the profession. To learn more, visit 

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