Domenick Chieco, Maria R. Perbellini, Deborah Verderame, and Thomas Scerbo at the event.


Friends in High Places: 10th Friends of Architecture and Design Reception

October 4, 2018

From left to right: Event chair Domenick Chieco (B.S.A.T. ’89), Dean Maria R. Perbellini, Honoree Deborah Verderame (B.Arch. ’98), Honoree Thomas Scerbo (B.Arch. ’98), NYIT President Hank Foley, Ph.D.

A crowd of more than 350 gathered for the 10th annual Alumni and Friends of the School of Architecture and Design Reception on September 27. Hosted by the school and the Friends of the School of Architecture and Design, this year’s event was held at the iconic Frank-Gehry designed IAC HQ building on 18th Street in Manhattan and celebrated 40 years of NAAB Accreditation at the school. In addition to hosting the largest crowd ever and giving alumni the chance to reconnect (more than 100 of the evening’s attendees were graduates), the evening raised nearly $170,000 for the school. A visualization designed by members of the school featuring student work, alumni and honoree profiles, the event brochure, a narrative of the 10th anniversary, and sponsor highlights was shown on a immense wall of screens and added to the sophistication and fun of the evening.

Dean Maria R. Perbellini, M.Arch., greeted the attendees before introducing the night’s honorees. “We are immensely grateful for your support. It is because of your desire to give back that we are all standing here today. I especially want to thank [event chair and managing partner, senior vice president Milrose Consultants, Inc.] Domenick Chieco (B.S.A.T. ’89) and the entire Friends group. Your engagement with the school is exemplary and exceptional.” 

“Not only are you critical, analytical, and creative, you’re also entrepreneurs,” said NYIT President Hank Foley, Ph.D., “I want to let you know how much I admire you.” President Foley also noted the $2 million grant bestowed on the school by IDC. “This is expanding the boundaries of what an architecture school is. …We’re going to put it to work right away.”

The annual Friends event honors School of Architecture and Design alumni who have made significant impacts on the field. This year, both honorees remarked on what it took for them to achieve their success. Deborah Verderame (B.Arch. ’98), AIA, ASID, LEED AP, founding principal, Verderame | Cale Architecture PLLC and a member of the NYIT Board of Trustees, spoke about the challenges of working in a male-dominated field and how building relationships based on trust and loyalty helped her get where she is today. Later, honoree Thomas Scerbo (B.Arch. ’98), AIA, regional managing principal, Buildings+Places, NY Metro, for AECOM, acknowledged his mentors at NYIT and in his professional career for helping shape and continue to shape him. He then challenged the audience to do the same: “I ask you to think about who you will mentor.”

The event also recognized the next generation of architects and designers, including the following students:

  • Alexander D’Amato, AIAS Chapter President (Long Island Campus)
  • Paolo Mendoza, AIAS Chapter President (New York City Campus)
  • Nicole Vilchez, Interior Design Club President and Brendalyn Stempel Award Winner
  • Danielle Joy, Brendalyn Stempel Award Winner
  • Catalina Lopez, Brendalyn Stempel Award Winner
  • Benjamin Sather, 2018 AIA Center for Architecture Design Scholarship Recipient
  • Steven Sculco, 2018 AIA Brooklyn Scholarship Recipient
  • Luciana B. Nogueira Godinho, Graduate Student Presented at AIANY Center for Architecture
The student honorees with Dean Maria R. Perbellini
The student honorees with Dean Maria R. Perbellini.

Learn more about Friends of NYIT School of Architecture & Design Scholarships.