Jim Sexton does not hold back when the 1981 Saint John’s University graduate is asked what his alma mater means to him.
“Saint John’s is a second home,” he said. “It’s really important to my life, even today.
“When you come onto campus, turn off the freeway and you come up the road, you’re coming into a unique, boutique environment. If you’re under any kind of pressure from work or your day or anything else in your life, when you come onto campus, you immediately decompress.”
Over the years, that passion has translated into a sense of service to SJU. Sexton has served on the SJU Board of Regents/Trustees twice – from 1999-2008 and from 2009-2018.
But he has also devoted countless hours to helping recruit future Johnnies from places impactful in his own life: his hometown of Wayzata, Minnesota, the greater Chicago area and the states of Arizona and Texas.
He’s also worked to help Saint John’s strengthen its relationship with graduates of SJU and the College of Saint Benedict in the Bahamas – keeping those bonds strong in order to ensure new Bahamian students continue to choose to enroll at CSB/SJU.
Those efforts are a big part of why Sexton has been chosen to receive the 2021 Fr. Walter Reger Distinguished Alumnus Award – the highest honor bestowed by the SJU Alumni Association for service to the Saint John’s community.
His accomplishments will be highlighted in a short video tribute at halftime of the SJU football team’s matchup against Bethel Saturday, Sept. 25 at Clemens Stadium, and he will be honored at a private ceremony following the game in the Great Hall.
“Jim has been active in service to alma mater in almost every way possible over the past several decades,” said John Young ’83, the associate vice president for institutional advancement at SJU and a close friend of Sexton’s.
“He has hosted dozens alumni socials and fundraising events in Chicago, the Twin Cities and in the Bahamas. He routinely engages with alumni across generations, and with current and prospective students and their parents. Jim has been a dream volunteer who is fully engaged in advancing Saint John's by recruiting Johnnies and Bennies, helping current students network and explore career opportunities, helping us raise significant philanthropic support and also giving generously at an extraordinary level. He did all of this in addition to serving a total of 18 years as a Saint John's University Regent and Trustee."
Sexton, who is president of Sexton Consulting Group, an insurance and financial services firm, joins his father Bill ’55 - who received the Reger Award in 2000.
“It’s pretty overwhelming, quite honestly,” Sexton said of receiving the award. “I’m incredibly grateful and very humbled to be accepting this award on behalf of my peer group, the Regents as well as the rest of the alumni. In my heart, I share it with them because so many of them have been with me for a lot of this ride helping Saint John’s University.”