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JOHN AGRESTO has taught at the University of Toronto, Kenyon College, Duke University, Wabash College, and the New School University. He was a scholar at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina and later served in senior positions at the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was president of St. John’s College for 11 years.
In 2003, Agresto went to Iraq as the Senior Advisor for Higher Education and Scientific Research for the Coalition Provisional Authority. Between 2007 and 2010, he occupied roles including academic dean, provost, and chancellor at the American University of Iraq. He has also been the Lilly Senior Research Fellow at Wabash College, scholar-in-residence at Hampden-Sidney College, and fellow at the Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.
Agresto has authored five books and edited three others, including Rediscovering America; Mugged by Reality; The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy; The Humanist as Citizen; a cookbook; and a political/religious thriller under a pen name. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Commentary Magazine, South Atlantic Quarterly, Georgia Law Review, Washington Times, Review of Politics, and Academic Questions.
Though recently retired as the probate judge of Santa Fe County, Agresto remains president of John Agresto & Associates, an educational consulting company.
Over sixty years ago, we were introduced to the idea of “the two cultures” in higher education—that is, the growing rift in the academy between the humanities and the sciences, a rift wherein neither side understood the other, spoke to the other, or cared for the other. But this divide in the academy, real as it may be, is nothing compared to another great divide—the rift today between our common American culture and the culture of the academy itself.
John Agresto spent nine months in Iraq—from September 2003 to June 2004—working under Ambassador Paul Bremer as senior adviser to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. His daunting task was to assist Iraqis in rebuilding their once distinguished system of colleges, universities, and vocational schools.