After more than 23 years at the helm as president of Pratt Institute, Thomas Schutte plans to step down in that role at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.
Under his stewardship, Schutte has turned the school into one the world’s leading colleges of art, design and architecture, as it was one of the first to offer an interdisciplinary curriculum to emphasize collaborative efforts and creative strategies for design thinking. At the board of trustees’ request, he will stay involved with Pratt after next summer, taking on the role of president emeritus. Schutte said, “Pratt is my home, and I’m thrilled that the board has asked me to stay on and work on special projects. My wife Tess and I will remain deeply connected and committed to Pratt.”
Representatives from Pratt’s key constituencies will conduct a global search for his successor.
During his tenure at Pratt, Schutte was dedicated to magnifying the school’s 25-acre Brooklyn campus. As part of his renewal plan, five academic buildings were built in the Clinton Hill location, additional property in the borough was acquired, and a West 14th Street campus in Manhattan was purchased and renovated. Schutte is winding down his presidential role at a time when Pratt’s programming has been modernized and applications are at an all-time high. Just two weeks ago, Pratt unveiled the Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative, the school’s research lab and service center focused on geographic information systems.
Schutte joined Pratt in 1993, after a decade of leading the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition to hosting top-shelf talent like Vik Muniz and architect Grant Brooker, Pratt has developed a steady following for its annual Legends dinner, which has honored such creatives as Takashi Murakami, Bruce Weber, Karim Rashid, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger and James Turrell.
Bruce Gitlin, chairman of Pratt’s board, said. “The Schutte era will be remembered for a deep commitment to academic excellence, diversity, sustainability and fiscal stability, and greater impact within the borough of Brooklyn, across the nation, and around the world.”