The night began with vibrantly colored images of cosmetics flashing on flat-screen monitors as the Pratt Institute honored James Gager, senior vice president and group creative director at MAC Cosmetics and Jo Malone Worldwide, for his outstanding commitment to package design.
“We are very, very proud that [Gager] is a Pratt graduate," said Thomas Schutte, Pratt Institute president, during his introductions at Pratt's annual Art of Packaging Award Gala on May 19 at The University Club of New York.
In addition to being known for his sophisticated design sensibilities with the Jo Malone brand, Gager also has been credited in being instrumental in helping to grow MAC into a global makeup artist powerhouse brand, where he has served as creative director and senior vice president since 1999. Gager received a bachelor’s degree of industrial design and a master’s of science degree in packaging design from Pratt Institute.
“This is not just a celebration of me,” said Gager. “It is a celebration of everyone that has worked on the brands that I’ve worked on."
Also in attendance was John Demsey, group president of The Estée Lauder Companies. Demsey has worked for Estée Lauder since 1991, served as the MAC brand president from 1998-2005 and raised more than $365 million as chairman of the MAC AIDS fund.
The Packaging Awards gala benefits the Marc Rosen Scholarship and Education Fund for Packaging by Design at Pratt Institute and attracts top-tier companies and executives from the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry.
"Tonight marks our most successful evening having raised tonight $400,000," added Schutte. "And this beautiful event has flourished as a result of your efforts. Thank you so much."
Emceed by supermodel Carol Alt, the event marked 26 years of the fund that has helped raise more than $3.5 million for scholarships for graduate packaging design students at Pratt. The Marc Rosen Scholarship and Education Fund for Packaging by Design is cited as the world’s only scholarship for masters degree-level students looking to pursue careers in cosmetics and packaging design. To date, the fund has provided scholarships to 104 Pratt students, many of whom have become industry leaders.
This year's student scholarship winners were:
- Olivia Hwayoung Kim (Seoul, Korea)
- Liyang Xu (Shanghai, China)
- Saana Hellsten (Helsinki, Finland)
- In-Young Bae (Busan, Korea)
- Hsiao-Han Chen (Taipei City, Taiwan)
- Marc Valega (Clark, New Jersey)