• In 2015, awarded the TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, which recognizes outstanding leadership on the part of a college or university president or chancellor.
  • In 2015, awarded the Institute of International Education’s Stephen P. Duggan Award for Mutual Understanding, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments in government and education.
  • In 2012, awarded the NASPA President’s Award, which is given annually to a college or university leader who has, over a sustained period of time, advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting student affairs staff and programs.
  • In 2008, named a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur
  • In November 2009, Time magazine named Sexton one of the 10 Best College Presidents.
  • Since 2006, NYU has received the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction form the Corporation for National and Community Service six times. 

John speaking

Leadership Roles

  • Chair of the American Council on Education
  • Chair of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities
  • Chair of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Memberships:
    • Council on Foreign Relations
    • The Association of American Universities
    • The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
    • The Institute of International Education
  • In 2008-09, co-chaired (with Rick Trainor, the principal of King's College London) the US-UK Study Group on Higher Education in a Global Environmental working group of university presidents constituted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.


  • The American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • The Foreign Policy Association 

Honorary Degrees

  • Hamilton College
  • University of Warwick (UK)
  • Fordham University
  • St. John's University (New York)
  • University of Rochester
  • St. Francis College
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Saint Joseph's College (New York)
  • University of Surrey
  • King's College London
  • University of Strathclyde