The April 12 event will include a presentation by NYU President John Sexton.

MADISON, N.J.—A one-day conference at Drew University on April 12 will combine faith, race and baseball—three topics that pervade everyday American life. Hosted as part of the school’s annual Arts of Respect competition, The Sports of Respect will feature five presentations, including a talk by New York University President John Sexton, who will discuss his book “Baseball as a Road to God”. Admission is free and open to the public.

According to Methodist Librarian Chris Anderson, the conference is inspired by baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who broke through racial barriers in 1947 by becoming the first African American to play in the major league. Anderson says Robinson also worked to combat racism off the field, even making a historic appearance on television to discuss race, faith and business.

“In 2009, we discovered a rare recording of that show in our archives,” Anderson says. “Robinson’s messages seemed to resonate still today, especially in the context of Drew’s adjoining Arts of Respect program.”

The schedule of events includes (subject to change):

  • 10 a.m.          Welcome and Introductions

Dr. Vivian Bull
President, Drew University

  • Leading Off 

Dr. Jonathan Golden
Associate Director, Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict, Drew University

  • 10:15 a.m.    “ʽHello, I’m Jackie Robinson, Your Host on Talk Back’: Discovering a Baseball Icon in a Church Archive”

Dr. Christopher J. Anderson
Methodist Librarian and Coordinator of Special Collections, Drew University

  • 11 a.m.          “Yogi Berra: The Man, the Myth, the American Dream”

Mr. David Kaplan
Director, Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Montclair State University

  • Noon              Lunch @ Ehinger Center Café or Drew Commons Cafeteria
  • 1 p.m.             “Diamond Shadows: The Lost History of African American Baseball”

Mr. James Gates
Library Director, National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, Cooperstown, NY

  • 2 p.m.             “Baseball as a Road to God”

Dr. John Sexton
President, New York University, Author of “Baseball as a Road to God” (2013)
Book available for purchase with book-signing by Dr. Sexton

The Sports of Respect will begin at 10:00 a.m. on April 12, with registration opening at 9:30 a.m. Conference events will held in Drew’s Ehinger Center in Crawford Hall. Sponsors include Drew’s United Methodist Archives and History Center; Athletics Department; and Center for Religion, Culture and Conflict. For more information, please contact Anderson at or visit