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NYU Steinhardt Celebrates Prestigious Faculty and Alumni Awards


Among the honors awarded to faculty and alumni were two MacArthur fellowships, a Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship.

In 2021, five members of the NYU Steinhardt community were recognized with prestigious awards for art and scholarship that seeks to advance an understanding of indigenous culture, social justice, and technological innovation.

“These awards – two MacArthur genius grants, a Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship – speak to the immense talent in our community and the power that narratives can have in shaping ideas, beliefs, and deeply-ingrained public attitudes,” said Dean Jack Knott, Gale and Drukier Chair of NYU Steinhardt.

Jack H. Knott

These awards speak to the immense talent in our community."

Jack Knott, Dean, NYU Steinhardt


Founded in 1890 as the first School of Education in the nation, NYU Steinhardt has historically placed a high value on academic and artistic excellence, and global engagement.

“In the celebrated work of our faculty and alumni, we see how creativity, interdisciplinary inquiry, and the fierce desire to make an impact on the world, can come together to tell a story we’ve never heard before, and that’s often how change happens," Knott said.

Two MacArthur “Genius" Grant Awards

The MacArthur Fellowship is a five-year grant to those who show exceptional creativity in their work and are committed to building a more just world. Nicole Fleetwood, NYU Steinhardt’s inaugural James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication and alumnus Daniel Lind-Ramos (MA ’79) are MacArthur Class of 2021 fellows.

Nicole Fleetwood, a writer, curator, and art critic, is the author of the book, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Harvard University Press, 2020), the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. In her book, and in accompanying museum exhibitions, Fleetwood shows the humanity contained within the carceral state and explains how the art of incarcerated people is essential to our understanding of contemporary art, and sheds light on the toll the criminal justice system takes on human lives. 

Nicole R. Fleetwood headshot

Art has been central to black freedom struggles and to social movements globally.”


Nicole Fleetwood, James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication

Daniel Lind-Ramos (MA ’79) is a sculptor and painter who uses everyday objects to create sculptural assemblages that embody the social history, religious rituals, and environment of his Afro–Puerto Rican community. Born and raised in the city of Loíza, the center of Puerto Rico’s rich, African cultural traditions, Lind-Ramos constructs large scale installations that juxtapose his island’s tropical vegetation with manufactured and mass-produced objects, creating work that has been described by critics as vibrant, joyous, humorous, and haunting. 


Art is a powerful instrument to investigate reality. For me, art is like transforming life experience into visual symbols."

Daniel Lind-Ramos (MA '79)

A Pulitzer Prize

Stride by Tania León (BA ’71, MA ’75), is the winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in music. It premiered at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City on February 13, 2020, as part of "Project 19,"  an initiative commissioning new works by female composers to honor the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment which granted women the right to vote. León began work on the composition by researching suffragist Susan B. Anthony and decided to call her piece, Stride, in honor of Anthony's persistent march toward progress.

"Stride for me was this gigantic woman with very big legs walking no matter what," Leon said.  The Pulitzer Prize Board described it as “a musical journey full of surprise that incorporates Black music traditions from the US and the Caribbean into a Western orchestral fabric."

woman smiling

Drive to me means inner courage. There’s this blind faith about doing something when there are those around you who might not believe you can do it."


Tania León (BA ’71, MA ’75)

A Tony Award

Kayla Greenspan (BA '12), a theatrical producer, took home a Tony Award for The Inheritance, which won best play at the 2021 Tony Awards. Written by Matthew López, The Inheritance, a modern retelling of E.M. Forster’s novel, Howard’s End, tells the story of three generations of gay men who grapple with the effects of trauma and discrimination as they search for community and a place to call home. Greenspan, who earned a degree in secondary education with a concentration in English from NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Teaching and Learning, won a Tony Award in 2019 for the Broadway production of Hadestown.

A Guggenheim Fellowship

portrait of faculty member Susan Murray

Susan Murry (Photo credit: Sylvie Rosokoff)

Susan Murray, professor of media, culture, and communication and current department chair, is the recipient of a 2021 Guggenheim fellow in the field of film, video, & new media studies. Murray is a media studies scholar who uses television as an entry point to analyze post-war era technology, culture, design, aesthetics, and industry. She is currently writing a history of the development and use of closed-circuit television as essential infrastructure and form of automation for a set of diverse fields such as medicine, education, business, manufacturing, and the military. 

Nicole R. Fleetwood

James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication

Susan Murray

Department Chair and Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication

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