On the verge of completing premedical studies at Columbia College, John Pagano switched his major to English literature, a decision that surprised many but convinced him he was pursuing the course of study best suited for creative self-realization and humanitarian contribution to society. The vocational energies that inspired this reorientation guided him through completion of his degrees at Columbia. In 1983, he began teaching Literature in Columbia’s School of General Studies, joined the Barnard English Department in 1988. Then he entered the Humanities Department of Manhattan School of Music in 1993, where since 1999, he has served as Chair.
His major teaching interests include Romantic Literature, Modern Literature, Poetry, Composition, and Fantasy. The magicality of intellectual and imaginative exchange in the classroom continues to be the most compelling aspect of the teaching profession for him—the opportunity to share with his students the formative insight, wonder, and delight afforded by Literature remains his primary inspiration as a teacher.