New York School of Interior Design 2017 Commencement Exercises

New York, NY – June, 5, 2017 – New York School of Interior Design’s 2017 commencement ceremony took place Thursday, May 25 at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The College graduated 136 students from 21 countries. The Class of 2017, along with their friends and families, were treated to an inspiring commencement address by Architectural Digest decorative arts editor Mitchell Owens before crossing the stage to receive their diplomas. Read Mitch’s entire speech and view photos from commencement here.

President David Sprouls's introductory remarks recalled the legacy of NYSID’s founder, Sherrill Whiton, as he congratulated the graduates as members of the College’s centennial graduating class: “Just as Sherrill Whiton started something new in 1916, so too do we start something new today. The New York School of Interior Design has been celebrating its 100th birthday this past year. That’s certainly a milestone, but we have only just begun. Likewise, graduating is a huge milestone. But you too have only just begun. You do not represent the end of a century, and this ceremony does not just represent the end of your time as a student; today marks the start of a new era.”

Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees were presented to Mitchell Owens; Leta Austin Foster, principal, Leta Austin Foster & AssociatesPeter Pennoyer, principal partner, Peter Pennoyer Architects, and Katie Ridder, founder and principal, Katie Ridder, Inc.

Owens shared how Mario Praz’s The House of Life shaped his career as a design writer. His best advice served as a testament to the essence of interior storytelling. “Everything you will create, in your professional realm as well as your personal world, from this day forward, means something; it has resonance. You will be creating houses of life. And I know that I and my colleagues look so forward to seeing, feeling, experiencing—and, yes, writing about—the stories that you have to yet to tell.”  

Each year, the presentation of awards celebrates members of the graduating class as well as members of the faculty. Here are the award winners for 2017:

The Chairman’s Award, which recognizes outstanding creative achievements of students on the graduate and undergraduate level, was given to Ilya Pulyaev (MFA-2)Linda Ching-yu Chien (MFA-1), and May Ghadanfar (BFA). The Ana Blanc Verna Award for Excellence in Interior Design, established to honor the memory of a distinguished graduate of the College, was given to Oona Yasukevich (BFA). BFA graduate Danielle Davis  was the recipient of the Alumni Award, given to an academically outstanding graduate who has also performed exceptional services to the College. This year’s Robert Herring Travel Prize, which wasestablished to raise awareness of the value of foreign travel as part of a designer’s growth, was awarded to Ilana Lotan (BFA) and to Ashley Crook (MFA-1).

Each year, NYSID also honors one of its faculty members with the William Breger Faculty Achievement Award. This year, the award was given to Don Kossar, NYSID alumnus and longtime and much loved faculty member.


About New York School of Interior Design
Ranked the #1 interior design school in the United States by DesignIntelligence, the 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. We have more than 600 students studying residential and commercial interior design, with specialties in sustainable design, lighting, and healthcare interiors. Because of our small class size and sharp focus, our students receive a great deal of personal attention from our dedicated faculty, and they go on to practice at the highest levels of the profession.To learn more, visit our website at