Pratt Institute President visits Benilde Design + Arts Campus

Frances Bronet, a distinguished educator at the forefront of interdisciplinary learning and the President of Pratt Institute, a New York-based prestigious private university which specializes in architecture, art and design and liberal arts, toured the Design + Arts Campus of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde during her recent stay in the Philippines.

The visit was organized by Doris Magsaysay Ho, Magsaysay Group of Companies President and Chief Executive Officer; and Joey Yupangco, Joey Yupangco + Associati Design Principal and former Benilde School of Design and Arts Dean. Both are graduates of Pratt Institute.

They were joined by Tina Periquet, Periquet Galicia Interior Architect and Principal Designer; Dominic Galicia, Dominic Galicia Architects Principal Architect; and Ed Calma, Lor Calma & Partners Design Principal, Architect and Interior Designer, the creative genius behind the head-turning 14-storey modernist Benilde campus.

They were received by Benilde Center for Partnership Advancement Director Robin Serrano.

The exploration around the building provided Bronet with a comprehensive overview of the innovative and inclusive education technologies and facilities.

Led by School of Environment and Design (SED) Dean Architect Dottie Asela Domingo and School of New Media Arts (SNMA) Dean Maria Sharon Mapa Arriola, Bronet studied the Scene Shops, Weaving and Sewing Workshops, Industrial Design Laboratories, Motion Capture Room, Red Room and Green Room, which Bronet called as “the biggest” she has ever seen.

The Canadian architect and academic administrator initiated conversations with several student-artists at work and shared her professional advice to enhance their design concepts.

Her walkabout the campus treated her with a quick sneak peek at the ongoing Capstone Projects, Debut Collections and Augmented Reality exhibitions in galleries and along the hallways. It concluded at the 12F Design + Arts Gallery, where Bronet conducted an insightful talk before the students, educators and administrators of the college.

She expressed her utmost gratitude for the warm welcome and encouraged the young artists “not to take for granted” the many resources and opportunities available to them.

She imparted the inspiring history of Pratt Institute, from being a “radical experiment to expand access to creative careers” to becoming a top-notch college with 61,000 alumni “making a positive impact through their remarkable work and research.”

She explained the participation of the institution in Brooklyn’s transformation into one of the most livable cities in New York. This is an initiative that reflects Benilde’s community involvement in its neighboring barangays, with a mission to spark a compassionate spirit in addressing contemporary social issues. Bronet believes that the local residents are the “best experts” in addressing the challenges of the community, and the vital role of proactive students towards an inclusive society.

She likewise reminded the students and mentors alike to always be mindful of the environment, the human condition, and of their “collective role to use technologies in the most creative ways” to build a fairer and more sustainable world for all.

Bronet was accompanied by the officials of Pratt Institute: Vice President for Institutional Advancement Daphne Halpern, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jessica Tallman, Executive Director of Development Jacob Korb, and Director of Alumni Engagement Tue Tran.

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