Charles M. Pratt '79

It’s pretty impossible to walk around campus without running into the name “Pratt” carved onto some building.  “Who is this ‘Pratt’?” you may have asked yourself.  Charles, Millard Pratt was born on November 2, 1855, in Brooklyn, the best city in the world.  He attended Amherst and graduated in 1879.

 

You may have assumed that Pratt was a pretty well off dude, given the amount of buildings named after him.  You assumed correctly.  When Pratt graduated, he joined Standard Oil, and later became Company Secretary.  Also, it turns out that Amherst isn’t the only place where you can find buildings named after the guy.  The Charles Millard Pratt House in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, is a magnificent structure done in the Romanesque revival architecture style.  Today, it houses the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Brooklyn.        

 

Pratt was a trustee of both Amherst and Vassar College, his wife Mary Seymour Morris’s alma mater.  Thus unsurprisingly there is a Pratt House (a residence for the Warden) on the Vassar campus.  Pratt was a trustee champ-he was also president of the board of trustees of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.  When he wasn’t being a trustee, he spent his time as director of the Long Island Railroad, Brooklyn City Railroad, and American Express.

 

 

Pratt was the first alum to donate a building to Amherst College.  It was the Pratt Gymnasium, and it was finished in 1883.  It was later reconstructed at the Pratt Museum in 1942.  In 2007, it became the lovely ski lodge we know as Charles M. Pratt dormitory.  Morris Pratt dormitory was another one of Pratt’s legacies.  It was named after his son, Morris Pratt, who died while attending Amherst.

 

 

Charles Pratt died in 1935, leaving an incredible legacy behind.  Personally, at this point, I’m just hoping someone names a nice park bench after me.