Category Archives: graduation

Pratt Institute Commencement, 2010

Patti Smith to Pratt Grads: ‘Be Happy, Take Care of Your Teeth’

“I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to talk about: Moby Dick, the slaves of Michelangelo, Hans Hoffman, My Bloody Valentine, but now that I’m here, my greatest urge is speak to you of dental care,” she began. “My generation had a rough go, dentally….You have a better chance at dental health, and I say this because you want at night to be pacing the floor because your muse is burning inside of you, because you want to do your work, because you want to finish that canvas, because you want to make that design, because you want to help your fellow man. You don’t want to be pacing because you need a damn root canal.”

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Doctor, Doctor (Patti Smith, Steven Soderbergh, Jonathan Lethem)

Last Monday, Pratt Institute held its graduation ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. At 10 A.M., giddy graduates and their families milled around the auditorium, while, backstage, a breakfast buffet had been laid out for professors, administrators, and a handful of people with distinguished careers in the arts who were about to receive honorary degrees (official wording: “the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa . . . with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto”). A few of the honorees looked especially pleased: they’d never received college degrees in the first place.

Watch: Patti Smith Gives Hearfelt Commencement Address

Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute invited the great Patti Smith to their graduation, awarding her with an honorary doctorate and a place on the podium for what turned out to be a gorgeously heartfelt talk.

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