Pratt Institute Campus Dorms


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From his fortunes with Astral Oil and Charles Pratt and Company, in 1886 he endowed and founded Pratt Institute. In May 1887, the New York State Legislature granted Charles Pratt a charter to open the school; on October 17, 1887, the institute opened to 12 students in the Main Hall. Tuition was $4 per class per term (approximately equivalent to $113. 8 in 2019). The college was one of the first in the country open to all people, regardless of class, color, and gender. In the early years, the institute's mission was to offer education to those who never had it offered to them before. Pratt sought to teach people skills that would allow them to be successful and work their way up the economic ladder. Specifically, many programs were tailored for the growing need to train industrial workers in the changing economy with training in design and engineering. Early programs sought to teach students a variety of subjects such as architectural engineering, mechanics, dressmaking, and furniture making. Graduates of the school were taught to become engineers, mechanics, and technicians. Drawing, whether freehand, mechanical, or architectural, thought of as being a universal language, united such diverse programs and thus all programs in the school had a strong foundation in drawing. In addition, the curriculum at the institute was to be complemented by a large Liberal Arts curriculum. Students studied subjects such as history, mathematics, physics, and literature in order to better understand the world in which they will be working in, which is still used in Pratt's curriculum.