Jay Sexter

Jay Seymour Sexter

1936 - 2024

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Obituary of Jay Seymour Sexter

Jay Sexter, lifelong educator who provided access to education for hundreds of thousands, dies at 88.


Dr. Jay Sexter, former college president, NYC Schools Superintendent, and CEO and provost, died Tuesday May 21, in Waterbury, Connecticut, surrounded by loved ones. He was 88.


Dr. Sexter served as president of Mercy College from 1990-1999. During his tenure, Dr. Sexter streamlined administration, tripled enrollment, and increased endowment. He retired in 1999 and became Mercy College’s first President Emeritus. In 2000, the President of Touro College, Dr. Bernard Lander, asked Dr. Sexter to develop a medical education program. Between 2000-2015, as the Provost, CEO and Vice President for academic affairs, Dr. Sexter established four schools of osteopathic medicine, in California, Nevada and New York (in Harlem and Middletown). He helped establish programs in physical therapy, nursing, pharmacy, education, physician assistant, and occupational therapy. Dr. Sexter is responsible for tens of thousands of osteopathic physicians, allied health professionals, and educators, practicing around the world.


Dr. Sexter was a Professor at Fordham University from 1972-1985.  Over these for 13 years, he was a teacher, guidance counselor, and principal, and he became the youngest superintendent of schools at the New York City Board of Education in New York State. At Fordham University, Dr. Sexter worked as an assistant professor, department chairperson, dean, assistant vice-president, and an associate vice-president for academic affairs. From 1985, he served as chief academic officer, provost, and academic vice president John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His research in criminal justice doubled the grant funding for the college, leading him to give lectures around the world in law enforcement personnel.


Dr. Sexter extended education opportunities for children also through work as a camp founder and director. He served as the director of summer camp Edalia and Camp Leah from 1968-1978. In 1979, he founded Day camp in Park in Harriman NY as a way for kids in New York City to experience nature. He was a positive influence leaving a lifetime legacy for all those privileged enough to have known him.


Dr. Sexter was born on February 13, 1936. He grew up in Sea GateBrooklyn, New York. Dr. Sexter overcame challenges with dyslexia to complete his undergraduate education at the City College of New York. Jay Sexter then attended Hunter College where he received his master's degree in social studies education. He then completed a second master's degree at the University of Southern California in counseling psychology. Upon graduating from the University of Southern California, he completed his doctorate in educational psychology at Fordham University. Dr. Sexter firmly believed in the potential of all people and worked tirelessly to create opportunities for people from all walks of life to improve their opportunities through education.


Dr. Sexter was a loving partner and family member. He married Deborah Rae Rochkin April 14, 1957, and cared for Deborah lovingly until she passed away on February 28, 2004. He married Eva Spinelli-Sexter, on September 30, 2004, and is survived by his adoring wife, Eva Spinelli-Sexter, his sons David and Michael Sexter, daughter in law Deborah, step-children Alex, Anthony, and Jessica Spinelli, grandchildren Dan, Logan, Maddox, Ronan, and Orion, and great grandchildren Eliana and Daniel. He is also survived by his nieces and nephew, Susan, Sharon, Andy and Ronald, all of whom worshiped him. Dr. Sexter continued to connect with people through his passions for pickleball and water volleyball, competing in Boynton Beach, Florida and Oxford, Connecticut, and was even awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Oxford Greens and Fairview Pickleball Society on September 30, 2020.


A Memorial Service in celebration of Dr. Sexter's life will be hosted by Touro University at 4:30 pm on June 27, 2024 at 3 Times Square, New York, NY.  A scholarship fund has been established in Dr. Sexter’s memory and donations can be made here: https://tourocom.touro.edu/giving/harlem-giving/jay-sexter-phd-scholarship-fund/. Online condolences may be made at www.wakeleememorial.com .


Memorial Service

4:30 pm
Thursday, June 27, 2024
Touro University
3 Times Square
New York, New York, United States
A Memorial Service in celebration of Dr. Sexter's life

Memorial Contributions

A scholarship fund has been established in Dr. Sexter’s memory and donations can be made here: https://tourocom.touro.edu/giving/harlem-giving/jay-sexter-phd-scholarship-fund/.