Be happy, take care of your teeth, always let your conscience be your guide.

Patti Smith

Pratt Institute’s class of 2010 had a kindred spirit in their commencement speaker. Punk troubadour Patti Smith was about the Brooklyn art school graduates’ age in 1967 when, like them, she moved to New York City to be an artist. Smith succeeded by refusing to confine herself to a single medium, and by interlacing her work with activism. Today, she’s a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, an award-winning author, and a visual artist whose drawings, silkscreens, and photographs have exhibited on three continents. Yet her humble (and humorous) parting advice underscores the importance of pure motives. “Pac[e] the floor because your muse is burning inside of you,” she said. “You don’t want to be pacing because you need a damn root canal.”