Edmond Noel '68: Believer in Generational Progress (Dayaja George '27, Fall '23)

"I know this is going to be tough. I'm actually deciding to do this knowing that it's going to be tough. It's inescapable that it's going to be tough. So that's why I'm doing it."

- Edmond Noel

A notion ingrained in Mr. Noel by his family is that every subsequent generation of Black people should reach for greater heights than the last. Mr. Noel, during his time at Dartmouth, was consumed by his academic ambition, hoping that his own success would move his people further along. He sees it wise that current Black students share his vigor for the progression of the race. 

Mr. Edmond Noel was born on November 15, 1946 in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Denver, Colorado by his two parents, doctor Edmond Noel Sr. and civil rights activist Rachel Bassette Noel. His father received his bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University and his medical degree from Meharry Medical College. His mother received her bachelor’s degree from Hampton University and her masters degree in sociology from Fisk University.

Having moved there from the South during the Great Migration, Denver was a place of opportunity for the Noels. His father was the first Black surgeon with hospital privileges in the city and his mother rose through the ranks in the public school board. Mr. Noel recalled the feeling of being one of the first Black families on his childhood block, which was east of Five Points. He was bussed into excellent schools. His high school, East Denver High, was ranked one of the best in the nation in 1964 by Look magazine.

Mr. Noel was one of seven Black students in his class at Dartmouth. He was in the “3-2” program at the Tuck School of Business, which allowed him to finish college in three years, then move up to pursue an MBA in two. An economics major who even did research at the Justice Department, he was extremely studious. Mr. Noel fit into the broader social scene at Dartmouth by joining the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, of which he was the first Black member locally and nationally. 

He graduated from Dartmouth with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1968 and an MBA from Tuck in 1969. Mr. Noel then graduated from Harvard Law School in 1972. He was the first Black partner at the law firm Holme, Roberts, and Owen in Denver, and eventually left to become a solo law practitioner.