$300K Anagnost Gift Creates Engineering Scholarships for CSUN Students

  • Andrew Anagnost, CEO of Autodesk

    Autodesk CEO and CSUN alumnus Andrew Anagnost recently made a gift to CSUN to create scholarships for engineering students. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

Andrew Anagnost ’87 (Engineering) is a Matador through and through. The president and CEO of software giant Autodesk credits CSUN professors for preparing him for his career and even launching it by helping him get a job at Lockheed Martin. His work in graduate school included being part of the team that wrote algorithms for parallel supercomputers that were the precursors of today’s cloud.

Anagnost’s family shares in his love for the university — his sister Karen ’84 (Art), ’11 (Credential), ’17 (Credential), M.A. ’17 and brother James ’85 (English) also earned degrees from CSUN, as did his mother Teresa ’79 (Health Science), who passed away in 2011 as a result of complications of open-heart surgery.

To honor his mother, Anagnost recently made a gift of $300,000 to CSUN to create and support the Teresa Sendra-Anagnost Memorial Scholarship Endowment. Teresa was one of the early pioneers in the establishment of Nurse Practitioner as a professional designation and helped support her three children through their studies at CSUN.

Anagnost and his wife established this scholarship in her name so that her legacy of support can touch future generations. The scholarship will support high-achieving students pursuing degrees in the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science with up to 100 percent of their total cost of attendance after other aid.

“Andrew is a great example of CSUN lifting the aspirations of a student and providing the preparation to pursue them. His tremendous success is deeply gratifying to his former teachers and makes the Matador family very proud,” said Robert D. Gunsalus, vice president for University Advancement and president of the CSUN Foundation. “We are very grateful for his generous support which will help students pursue their education without additional financial burdens, and ensure that future Matadors make their mark upon the ever-changing engineering workforce.”

For the past two decades, Anagnost has been part of an impressive team of leaders at Autodesk that has advanced the multibillion-dollar company to astronomical heights. Under Anagnost’s leadership, Fortune magazine has included Autodesk among the world’s most admired companies. Anagnost said CSUN provided him the guidance and structure he needed to succeed, and that his professors made a profound impact on him.

“They were very encouraging and direct about my potential and what they felt I was capable of,” Anagnost said. “I never felt judged by anyone there. I really, really appreciated their support, and I’m grateful for it.”

Part of why Anagnost created the scholarship is his belief in a bright future for workers, even with the advent of increasing automation. Although tomorrow’s engineering workforce will be disrupted by automation, he said, other jobs will take their place, and students must be ready to seize those opportunities — for example, the rise of online banking apps is reducing the number of bank teller jobs, but software developers were needed to create those apps.

“The real discussion of automation is not about scarce jobs, but having the right skills to thrive and grow,” Anagnost said, “and I hope to help CSUN engineering students get those skills.”

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