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Noel Anderson Pledges $50K to Leadership and Innovation Program


Noel Anderson, executive director of leadership and innovation at NYU Steinhardt, has pledged a generous $50,000 gift to the school’s EdD in Leadership and Innovation (EDLI) program to help foster student success initiatives.

A black and white photograph of Frank and Kassie Quinn.

Anderson, who co-founded the EDLI program in 2019 with Lisette Nieves, named the Francis and Cassie Quinn Fund as a tribute to his great-great-grandparents (pictured) and their hard work that laid the foundation to help him build the life he has. 

“Frank [Francis] Lane was a free Black man, and Cassie Quinn was born a slave on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” says Anderson, who is also clinical professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Steinhardt. “In order for them to marry, he had to take her last name, but in return, the Quinn family, who enslaved Cassie, would pay to educate Frank and Cassie’s children and deed them the land they lived on. This land – called Quinntown – still belongs to our family, and it’s their complicated story and legacy that has led me to the place I am now.”

For over 25 years, Anderson has served in a variety of leadership positions in large public school districts, higher education institutions, and national non-profit organizations. In 2018, he also became the first African American to be named chair of Steinhardt’s Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology.

A headshot of Noel Anderson

Anderson’s gift – which will support leadership, educational, and networking events for current students and alumni – comes on the heels of additional support for the EDLI program from alum Bruce Huang (EdD ’21), who created two scholarships for underrepresented students this past fall.

“While Bruce’s gift is geared toward admission and supporting new students, this one is intended to help current EDLI students and alumni leaders to be involved with movement building in different areas around the world,” says Anderson. “We reached our 100th EDLI graduate in January 2024, so this is in a line of support that Bruce has spearheaded, and it’s wonderful to have alumni like him who choose to philanthropically support EDLI.

Building on the generous support of Noel Anderson, EDLI co-founder Lisette Nieves has also made a leadership gift commitment to the Francis and Cassie Quinn Fund.

If you wish to support EDLI students past, present, and future, you can do your part to help maintain the program as an inclusive space for professionals of all kinds by making your contribution to the EDLI Connect fundraising initiative now. Your support can help foster lifelong connections and advance professional growth for our students and alumni through networking and professional development, tuition support, and research grants. Time is running out to take advantage of the 1:1 match generously offered by alumnus Bruce Huang (EdD '21), so please make your gift today!

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