NYU President John Sexton, Benjamin F. Butler Professor of Law and dean emeritus, appeared on Bill Moyers Journal on March 12. In an eclectic and far-ranging conversation, Sexton and Moyers discussed topics including baseball as a path to religion, the afterlife, and the paucity of meaningful public discourse in American culture.

Sexton, who earned degrees in history and comparative religion and chaired St. Francis College’s religious studies department before graduating from Harvard Law School and coming to NYU Law, attributed his broad intellectual curiosity to Charlie, one of his high-school teachers: “This is an important Charlie phrase, ‘Play another octave of the piano.’ If there's food you haven't tasted, if there's a symphony you haven't heard, if there's a type of music you haven't heard, play another octave of the piano. Reach out, stretch yourself.... Charlie began to lead us down a mystical journey of thinking strange. He taught us to see things we never would have seen by looking at them in a way we never would have thought to look at them.”

Sexton becomes board chair of American Council on Education

The same week as his television appearance with Bill Moyers, Sexton was named chair of the American Council on Education’s Board of Directors. The ACE is the major coordinating body for all U.S. institutions of higher education.

“Institutions of higher education serve a unique and indispensable role in our society: they are engines of personal achievement and advancement, birthplaces of innovations and great new ideas, and all-too-uncommon oases of meaningful intellectual exchange,” Sexton said at the time of the announcement. “Organizations such as ACE play such a crucial role: clarifying how important a robust higher education system is to our nation’s strength, prosperity, and future.”

Posted on March 15, 2010