The former dean of NYU Law, John Sexton is the 15th president of New York University, and one of the highest paid university leaders in the nation (he earned $849,121 from NYU in 2006).

Raised in a religious family in Brooklyn, Sexton went to Catholic school and attended Fordham, where he earned a bachelor's and master's degree in religion, eventually earning a PhD in religious history. Apparently not quite ready to leave grad school behind, he then went to Harvard Law (originally waitlisted, the school changed its mind after a group of friends lobbied the admissions committee on his behalf). In 1981, Sexton joined the faculty of NYU Law; seven years later he was named dean. He earned high marks over the course of his 14-year tenure by raising more than $300 million for the school and attracting a slew of prestigious faculty members, moves that secured NYU Law a position as a top 5 law school and boosted its reputation with employers. His success made him the frontrunner to take over as president of NYU when the school's longtime head, Jay Oliva, stepped down in 2001. Although Sexton spends much of his time on the fundraising trail, since taking over, he's pushed for professors to spend more face time with NYU undergrads—a rule he applies to himself, as well.

Sexton's wife, Lise E. Goldberg, died in 2007 at the age of 54. Until her death, she was president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. He has a daughter, Katie, from his marriage to Goldberg, as well as a son, Jed, from a previous relationship. Sexton lives in the NYU president's house on Washington Square.

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