FRIENDS Chair Domenick Chieco, honorees Denise M. Berger and Joseph A. Chiarelli, and Dean Maria Perbellini


The Gift of Friendship: 11th FRIENDS of Architecture and Design Reception

October 22, 2019

Pictured from left: FRIENDS Chair Domenick Chieco, honorees Denise M. Berger and Joseph A. Chiarelli, and Dean Maria Perbellini at the 11th Annual Alumni and FRIENDS of the School of Architecture and Design Reception.

Alumni, students, faculty, and guests gathered at the 11th annual Alumni and FRIENDS of the School of Architecture and Design Reception on October 10. More than 500 people registered for the event hosted by the school and the FRIENDS of the School of Architecture and Design. This year’s reception was held once again at the iconic Frank Gehry-designed IAC HQ building on 18th Street in Manhattan.

In addition to allowing attendees to connect and reconnect, the evening raised nearly $201,000 for the school, the largest amount in the event’s history. Throughout the evening, student work, alumni and honoree profiles, the event brochure, and sponsor highlights were shown on a wall of digital screens, adding to the evening’s celebratory atmosphere.

Dean Maria R. Perbellini, M.Arch., the catalyst in reenergizing a culture of alumni engagement, greeted the attendees and addressed the Friends, alumni, and the night’s honorees. “We are extremely grateful for your support. It is because of your desire to give back that we are standing here today,” she said. “I especially want to thank [event chair and managing partner, senior vice president of Milrose Consultants, Inc.] Domenick Chieco (B.S.A.T. ’89) and the entire FRIENDS group. Your mentorship and involvement with our students, and your generosity to the school, are extraordinary.”

Open Photo Gallery

“We call New York Tech the home of doers, makers, and innovators; those words really sum up the incredibly creative work coming from the School of Architecture and Design and from our outstanding alumni architects, said President Hank Foley, Ph.D. “I truly appreciate the outstanding support and engagement you’ve shown since earning your New York Tech degrees, especially when it comes to supporting our students.”

The annual FRIENDS event honors School of Architecture and Design alumni who have made significant impacts in the field of architecture. This year’s honorees were Denise M. Berger (B.Arch. ’86), FAIA, and Joseph A. Chiarelli (B.S.A.T. ’92). Berger, chief of operations for the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey, oversees a department made up of more than 570 staff members and an annual budget of $1.3 billion. She spoke about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry, and called for women to raise each other up and channel the power of collaboration. Let’s remember that women architects are integral to the success of our nation’s construction industry,” she said.

Chiarelli, president of New York City Metro Operations at Consigli Construction, oversees more than 200 employees and $500 million in construction management volume encompassing New York City and Long Island. He, too, spoke of challenges and the struggles he faced in finding his first job during a recession. He called upon the attendees to help others. “Get involved, whether it’s with your time, money or other resources that you can spare; you can and will make the difference in someone else’s life.”

During the reception, Perbellini extended sincere thanks to event sponsors, including: AECOM Technology Corporation, Alan Margolin & Associates, Consigli Construction, Gotham Drywall Inc., H2M architects + engineers, HLW International LLP, Milrose Consultants, Inc., The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, SLG Construction, Roger Smith, Special Inspection Services Inc., Stellar Services Inc., Ted Moudis Associates, and Willis Towers Watson.

Additionally, the event served the very important role of recognizing the next generation of architects and designers, those in American Institute of Architecture Student leadership positions, recipients of national design awards, as well as students who received FRIENDS scholarships, based on the applications, essays, and portfolios they submitted, including:

  • Himesh Patel, fifth-year architecture student
  • Peggy Peña, fifth-year architecture student
  • Alexander D’Amato, fourth-year architecture student
  • Karla Perez, interior design student

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