Lesley Albanese succeeds former Executive Director Terrence J. Giroux as CEO and Constantine G. Katsarakis has been promoted to COO

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced Lesley Albanese has been named as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2024. Albanese succeeds Terrence J. Giroux, who served the Association for 36 years and left an indelible mark on the organization. Additionally, Constantine G. Katsarakis has assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer after 12 years in various leadership roles within the organization, most recently as Associate Executive Director.

“Lesley Albanese’s career in non-profit leadership has been defined by her commitment to the free enterprise system and her belief in individual liberty,” said James F. Dicke II, Chairman of the Horatio Alger Association Board of Directors. “With more than two decades of experience, Lesley brings an entrepreneurial leadership style that will serve our membership well. Her tremendous strengths in strategic planning, fundraising and major events will allow the Association to build upon its strong foundation and continue to innovate, especially as our best-in-class Scholarship Program grows to meet the evolving needs of students in the United States and Canada.”  

With a strong record of successfully driving major campaigns and initiatives, Albanese joins the Association from the Cato Institute in Washington, DC where she most recently served as Senior Vice President for Initiatives. There, she was a member of the Institute’s senior leadership team, collaborating with the president, executive management and scholars on a range of strategic objectives and priorities. Notably, Project Sphere, an initiative to address polarization and preserve the institutions of American democracy, rule of law and freedom of speech. Established in 2019, this innovative program includes the Sphere Education Initiatives that provide professional development programming and classroom resources for K-12 teachers and administrators nationally. A mission-driven leader, in addition to Cato, Albanese has held key roles at the National Constitution Center (Philadelphia, PA) and FreedomWorks.

Albanese was selected following a national search in partnership with Heidrick & Struggles, a global executive search firm specializing in assisting philanthropic, government, higher education, academic, and non-profit clients in identifying new leadership.

“It is an honor to be named as Chief Executive Officer of this esteemed Association,” said Albanese. “I am both humbled and grateful to the Board of Directors for its confidence in me to steward this organization and to advance its vital mission – to promote and preserve the American Dream. So much has been achieved over these last 77 years and I look forward to working closely with the Membership, headquarters team, and our Scholars and Alumni Scholars to build upon the Association’s record of success.”

Katsarakis has played an integral part in the Association’s growth in the United States and Canada over the past decade. He has designed and executed fundraising campaigns and initiatives to advance annual giving programs, major and long-term gifts and the Horatio Alger Endowment Fund. Katsarakis also directed the Association’s operations and helped advance Membership as well as governance activities for the Board of Directors. His promotion to Chief Operating Officer will help to ensure a seamless transition in leadership for the Association and continuity of critical institutional knowledge.

“Constantine’s expansive work at the Association in key areas such as operations, fundraising, strategic communications and more has prepared him exceptionally well for this new role,” said Gregory E. Abel, President of the Board of Directors. “His belief in our mission and the power of higher education has already solidified him as a trusted leader and advisor to Members, partners and staff.”

Katsarakis added, “I have been privileged to serve the Association for 12 years and couldn’t be prouder to assume this new role. I look forward to partnering with Lesley as we continue to increase the Association’s impact and reach, especially as we move towards its 80th anniversary in 2027. We are both deeply committed to the Association’s mission – to protect and advance the American Dream for future generations.”

In support of its mission, Horatio Alger Members have built one of North America’s largest privately funded, need-based scholarship programs. 2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the Association’s Scholarship program and over the past four decades, Horatio Alger Members have provided more than $262 million in need-based scholarships to 37,000 Horatio Alger Scholars – more than half of whom are first-generation college students. For six consecutive years, Charity Navigator has awarded the Association its highest rating – four stars – based on its accountability, transparency and fiscal health. Only 17 percent of charities have attained this same level of success.  

For more information regarding the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., please visit www.horatioalger.org and/or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter (X) and Instagram

Headshots available upon request. 

About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:

Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2024, the Association is awarding more than $18 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships to 1,800 students across the United States and Canada, and continuing to provide comprehensive academic, personal, and professional support services to its Scholars. Over the past 40 years, more than $262 million has been awarded in undergraduate, graduate, military veteran and career and technical education scholarships to more than 37,000 deserving students. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.