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TIAA-CREF Honors John Sexton With 2015 Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence

March 16, 2015

2015 Hesburgh Award

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Award bestowed at ACE's 97th Annual Meeting

The TIAA-CREF Institute today announced Dr. John Sexton, president of New York University (NYU), as the winner of the 2015 TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, which recognizes outstanding leadership on the part of a college or university president, or chancellor. The award, established in 1993, is named in honor of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, the great educator and humanitarian who recently passed away.

Photo, left to right: ACE President Molly Corbett Broad, John Sexton, and Stephanie Bell-Rose and Edward Van Dolsen of TIAA-CREF.

ACE administers the award on the Institute’s behalf and an independent panel of judges selects the winner. TIAA-CREF bestowed this honor today at ACE's 97th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

While higher education institutions in the United States have faced great challenges and uncertainty, Sexton has shown vision and leadership that have enhanced NYU’s reputation nationally while vastly expanding the university’s global reach.

“The TIAA-CREF Institute is thrilled that Dr. Sexton has been selected as the 2015 Hesburgh Award honoree. His work to grow and improve NYU has given other university presidents across the country some new pathways in this time of uncertainty,” said Stephanie Bell-Rose, senior managing director and head of the TIAA-CREF Institute. “Sexton’s three decades of commitment to his university, visionary leadership and dedication to exploring new ideas for higher education—all while continuing to teach undergraduates each semester—epitomize the spirit and work of the award’s namesake, the late Father Theodore Hesburgh.”

During Sexton’s presidency, NYU has opened two international degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. It has also added six new study-abroad sites—Berlin, Accra, Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv, Sydney and Washington, DC—to the five sites that existed when he was named president. NYU has become the first U.S. university in 15 years to lead in both undergraduates who study abroad and in the number of international students attending.

“I am honored to receive an award that has been bestowed upon such a distinguished list of my colleagues and is named after Father Hesburgh, who was an inspiration to all of us,” said Sexton. “The NYU we know today is the outcome of decades of bold decision-making and vision that created an extraordinary academic trajectory. I feel privileged to have played a part in that great transformation. This award validates those efforts, and I accept it on behalf of the many people—from trustees and faculty to students and staff—in the NYU community who have contributed so much to NYU’s advancement.”

Sexton’s accomplishments at NYU are wide-ranging. In addition to enhancing the university’s global presence, he also put in place a plan to meet its pressing academic space needs in New York, restored engineering as a discipline for the first time in four decades, expanded tenured and tenure-track positions in the arts and sciences by 20 percent, saw federal research and development expenditures increase by more than 80 percent, more than doubled the financial aid budget, increased student diversity, doubled the number of applicants for freshman admission, raised nearly $5 billion and tripled the endowment.

“ACE is proud to join the TIAA-CREF Institute in honoring leaders like John Sexton who have made such profound contributions to American higher education during challenging times,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “Dr. Sexton has transformed New York University into a truly global institution and spurred the creation of an array of important academic programs, which will stand NYU in good stead for decades to come.”

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