Being Creative and Nostalgic on Alumni Day.

Posted on 29. Sep, 2009 by in Blog

I had the privilege to be a student, alumnus, artist, and donor all in the same day.   I along with my former two roommates, John and David, spent a full day at Pratt’s Alumni Day, September 26, 2009. It was a beautiful blue-sky day that reminded us of our first days on campus 40 years ago. I graduated Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, in 1969.  Looking back on those days of being carefree and adventurous is a mighty inducement to forget about my current issues of being an aging baby boomer. Yes, I was a little nostalgic and jealous of what my alma mater offers students today. But the day turned into a rewarding experience.

Pratt’s alumni office put on a very engaging and thoughtful multi-generational program together called ReIGNITE, a theme that included ReSET, ReTURN, ReDEFINE, ReCONSIDER, and ReUNION (An alumni exhibit that included a suite of my photographs). It was great meeting today’s students and alumni, some who graduated in 1949. Being loyal to an institution takes nurturing and engaging alumni and Pratt encourages as well as any college. Being able to see the school’s growth, yet still seeing the continued success of many of its alumni, made me proud.

That said, the real highlight of the day was a 4-hour symposium called: “Defining the Good Life Symposium”. It featured Kurt Andersen, who wrote the NY Times bestseller, “Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew America.” along with several guest speakers representing the arts, architecture, film, design and demography. There were also very funny and compelling short videos by Pratt Students.

What did the day’s events mean to me? A community of creative and thoughtful people is necessary more than ever in addressing the issues facing our society. I thought of the following words that still hold true today, as they did for me 40 years ago:

  • Humanity
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Purpose

These values are timeless, but must be nourished for the next generation of artists I witnessed at my Alumni Day.

Excuse me; I need to draw in my sketchbook.

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