DEAN OF THE NYU SCHOOL OF LAW IS APPOINTED THE UNIVERSITY’S 15TH PRESIDENT The Board of Trustees of New York University today announced that it has selected John Sexton, J.D., Ph.D, Dean of the NYU School of Law since 1988, to be the 15th President of the University.

Dean Sexton – who served as a Law Clerk to the late Chief Justice Warren Burger – is a scholar of the Supreme Court and the federal court system and of the First Amendment, with a concentration on church/state issues. He has been recognized widely for his work at the Law School in recruiting top legal scholars as faculty, in developing a unique sense of intellectual community among faculty and students, in establishing and expanding the Law School’s unique Global Law School initiative, in developing an extraordinary array of advanced interdisciplinary colloquia for faculty and students, in crafting joint faculty appointments with other NYU schools, in stressing clinical education, in developing creative incentives to encourage students to pursue public interest careers, in expanding the research and pedagogical use of technology, and in fundraising.

Dean Sexton will succeed L. Jay Oliva, who in March announced his intention to step down as President at the end of the spring 2002 semester after 11 years in office. Dean Sexton’s official investiture is expected to take place in May 2002.

Martin Lipton, Chairman of NYU’s Board of Trustees, said, “It gives the Trustees great pleasure to announce the appointment of Dean John Sexton as the next President of NYU.

“NYU is very fortunate in having been served by a long line of distinguished academic leaders possessed of high aspirations, vision, energy, determination, dedication and faith in the values and qualities of this institution. We have no doubt that John Sexton will follow in that esteemed tradition and continue the remarkable progress in academic richness and prestige that has come to characterize NYU.

“Throughout our consultations, both internal and external, a recurrent theme emerged: a universal recognition of and unswerving confidence in John’s excellence as a candidate for this post. His reputation as a scholar, his manifest love of teaching, his knowledge of the special history and attributes of this institution, his outstanding management skills, and his focus on the building of academic communities marked by genuine intellectual exchange between students and faculty make him an ideal choice.”

Dr. Oliva said, “The Trustees could not have found a better person to assume the presidency of this institution than my close friend and colleague John Sexton. His leadership of the Law School has been exemplary, and the achievements of his tenure as dean have earned him wide recognition. At the same time, he has a deep understanding of the complex and critical relations among the schools of a large research university such as this. While doing so much to enhance the School of Law, he has never lost sight of the proposition that great universities rest on a strong undergraduate program, and he has been tangibly supportive of that idea. I could not be happier or more confident about John’s leadership of this University in the years to come.”

Dean Sexton said, “I am a very fortunate man. It has been my privilege to serve as Dean of the NYU Law School: each day I have the joy of working with a community of colleagues and students whom I esteem beyond words. To have one assignment that is the realization of your dreams is a rare occurrence; to be offered a second is truly humbling.

“I am moved by the confidence in me that the Trustees have demonstrated in selecting me as the next president of this great University. It is an honor to be asked to join the ranks of the people who built this University from the novel and brilliant idea that inspired its creation in the early 19th century to the prestigious and vibrant institution it is today.

“I have been part of this University for 20 years, and I have seen the presidencies of John Brademas and Jay Oliva unfold. Their two decades are a remarkable story of institutional progress and transformation. It is both daunting and exhilarating to follow two such great university presidents. As I approach this task, I am comforted by the talented group of people they have assembled in the faculty and by the existence of a strong group of deans. Working with these and other colleagues, I will strive to make the next leg of the relay as strong as the previous ones.

“As proud as we can be of what has occurred over the last 20 years, we are on the brink of a major breakthrough. There now exists the possibility of creating a ‘category change’ in this University and the way it is perceived. This possibility exists precisely when such forces as globalization and technology are transforming universities and the societies of which they are a part.

“NYU has a set of unique assets as it enters this next phase of its development, which can only be achieved by a great university in a great urban setting. First, it is located in the finest neighborhood in the world’s capital city, a city in which what is local is global, and what is global is local. This is true even in the make-up of our student body: we are favored with more international students than any other U.S. college or university. Second, because this is a university that is characterized by a ‘new excellence,’ it is not bound by old tradition, and it is perfectly poised to adapt to the new environments in which we find ourselves, even while maintaining the best and most rigorous of what brought us here.”

Following Dr. Oliva’s announcement of his decision to step down, the Board of Trustees formed a 13-member “Committee on the Future of the Presidency” from among the Trustees. The Committee, joined in most of its meetings by the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the Faculty Council, met some 15 times with elected representatives and other leaders of the various University constituencies – faculty, deans, students, administrators and senior officers, and alumni – to discuss the search. In addition, the Committee engaged in less formal consultation with prominent educational leaders outside the University on issues in higher education and possible candidates for the post of the President.

Dean Sexton emerged early as a candidate of singular gifts and qualifications, and the committee unanimously recommended him to the Board of Trustees for appointment as the 15th President of NYU. The Board of Trustees, responding to the Committee’s recommendation, today unanimously voted to appoint Dean Sexton as NYU’s next President.

John Sexton, 58, was born in Brooklyn. He received his B.A. in history from Fordham College (1963), and an M.A. in comparative religion (1965) and a Ph.D. in the history of American religion (1978) from Fordham University. He received his J.D. degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1979.

Following law school, he served as a clerk for two years, first at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit (where he served the late Judges Harold Leventhal and David Bazelon), and then at the U.S. Supreme Court (where he served Chief Justice Warren E. Burger).

Dean Sexton came to NYU in 1981, received tenure in 1984, and was named dean in 1988; he is also currently Benjamin Butler Professor of Law.

During his seven years as a member of the Law School faculty, he was a prolific writer. His works include, Redefining the Supreme Court’s Role: A Theory of Managing the Federal Court System (with Samuel Estreicher, Yale University Press, 1986), a major 1,200-page volume on the Supreme Court and its method of selecting cases for review. He is also co-author of the most widely used legal textbook, Civil Procedure: Cases and Materials, (Cound, Friedenthal, Miller and Sexton, West Publishing, 2001; eighth edition).

Dean Sexton maintained an active teaching load both before and after becoming dean. He currently teaches two courses: one in the Law School, and one to freshmen in the Morse Academic Plan, the undergraduate college’s integrated general education curriculum in the liberal arts.

Dean Sexton is a past president of the American Association of Law Schools, and he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2000, he gave a seminal address at the Millennial Meeting of the American Bar Association on the future of legal education, leading to the establishment of a standing committee of the ABA based on the themes raised in the address. He is also the Ethics Officer for NYC 2012, the committee to bring the Olympic Games to New York.

John Sexton is married; he and his wife, Lisa Goldberg, the Executive Vice President of the Charles Revson Foundation, live in Manhattan. They have a son, Jed, an actor, who is married to Danielle DeCrette; and a daughter, Katie, a seventh-grade student.

New York University, which was established in 1831, is one of the largest and most prestigious private research universities in the U.S. It receives more applications for freshman admission and has more international students than any other private college or university in the nation. Through its 13 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences; law; medicine; dentistry; education; nursing; business; social work; the cinematic, studio and performing arts; public administration and policy; and continuing studies, among other areas.

The University has some 36,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well some 14,000 non-credit students, and it provides housing to some 11,000 students. Since 1985, NYU has raised in excess of $2 billion. In addition to its Washington Square campus, the University also has educational facilities in the Kips Bay area (its medical and dental schools and affiliated facilities), on the upper east side of Manhattan (the Institute of Fine Arts), in midtown Manhattan (the Continuing and Professional Studies Midtown Center), six centers for study abroad – in Florence, Prague, London, Paris, Madrid, and Buenos Aires – and is developing athletic fields in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

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