2017 DTA Medal

Medal design by Andreas Haji-Georgi

“The medal’s undulating surface alludes to ripples, which expand across the water after an object’s impact. This effect can be seen in the impact a teacher has on their students, as valuable information learned is carried with the student throughout the years and subsequently spread outwards, establishing a boundless impact.”

Adrienne Jones

Distinguished Teacher 2017–18

Professor Adrienne Jones holds the honor being the first Black woman to achieve tenured professor status at Pratt Institute. For more than 20 years, she has served as faculty adviser for Pratt’s Fashion Society and has twice received the Outstanding Organization Adviser award for her work with and dedication to the club. Jones has taught in the Department of Fashion at Pratt for more than 25 years, and in the School of Continuing & Professional Studies, where she developed both the adult education and Pre-College programs in fashion.

In 2014, Jones conceived and co-curated the landmark exhibit on Black Dress, which honors Black designers and addresses the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. The exhibition was an unprecedented endeavor to coalesce a diverse array of contemporary design styles that inform and educate the New York fashion community, as well ass new audiences, on the commemorative work of Black designers. The Black Dress project includes a website that serves as a source of information and reference, a digital exhibition, and “Black Dress TV,” where video interviews of prominent Black/ African American figures of the fashion industry can be found. Jones is currently writing the companion book to the exhibition and working on expanding and touring the exhibition.

Jones is a painter, photographer, and fashion designer who specializes in leather and suede for her private clients. She has worked as a fashion show producer, creative director, and stylist for special events. Jones holds degrees in Art Therapy (M.S), Art Education (B.S), Fashion Design (A.A.S), and has won many awards and honors in her field, including being named Innovative Visionary Icon of the Decade in 2015.

Commencement Speech

Good morning, President Schutte, Members of the Board of Trustees, Provost Pillow, Members of the Academic Senate, Chairperson Jennifer Minnitti, Deans and Chairs. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017! A very special thank you to the Student body, especially the amazing students of the fashion department. For this honor, I am truly humbled! The students whom I have taught and assisted over the years, know me for my “life talks”, so it’s only fitting that I share this with you, as you embark on the next part of your journey.

We are living in times of turbulence and hostility. If you are a person of color, a woman, gay or transgender, one who struggles with a physical or mental disability, a person who practices a faith or belief different from your neighbor, poor, young, or old, you can be a target for hate, and the isms that go along with it. As a Black woman, I have faced many social atrocities. I found I had to create a way in which I could heal the hurt caused by daily covert racism and microaggressions. You, too, may have to find a way to amp your inner peace, before you embark on your day. As you begin this next chapter of your life, I encourage you to find a positive outlet that brings you peace of mind and a sense of self; whether through prayer, music, poems, or a daily mantra. Embrace the gift that is YOU! My favorite poem, “Ego Trippin”, by Nikki Giovanni, is one that helps me through this thing called life, and I’d like to share it with you.

I was born in the Congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built the sphinx.
I designed a pyramid so tough, that a star that only
glows every 100 years falls into the center,
giving divine, perfect light.
I am bad!
I sat on the throne drinking nectar with Allah.
I got hot and sent an ice age to Europe to cool my
My oldest daughter is Nefertiti; the tears from my birth
pains created the Nile
I am a beautiful woman!
I gazed on the forest and burned out the Sahara
With a packet of goat’s meat and a change of clothes,
I crossed it in two hours.
I am a gazelle so swift, so swift
you can’t catch me
For a birthday present when he was three,
I gave my son Hannibal an elephant.
He gave me Rome for mother’s day
My strength flows ever on.
My son Noah built a New/Ark
And I stood proudly at the helm,

as we sailed on a soft summer day.
I turned myself into myself and was Jesus!
Men intone my loving name
All praises All praises!
I am the one who would save
I sowed diamonds in my back yard,
my bowels deliver uranium, the filings from my
fingernails are semi-precious jewels.
On a trip north I caught a cold and blew my nose,
giving oil to the Arab world.
I am so hip, even my errors are correct!
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went.
The hair from my head thinned,
and gold was laid across three continents
I am so perfect, so divine, so ethereal, so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

I mean…I.can fly like a bird in the sky…
A friend recently told me, remember to walk softly,
for one day you will return to the earth. So, for the
time we share this earth together, please be mindful
that we need one another…take care of yourself and
look out for each other. Thank you!