Robert William Sekuler was born in Elizabeth. New Jersey, on May 7, 1939. He obtained his A.B. at Brandeis University (1960) and his Sc.M. (1963) and Ph.D. (1964) at Brown University. Sekular joined Northwestern's faculty in 1965 as a professor of psychology. He left Northwestern in 1989 to return to Brandeis as a Dean.
Joining the Northwestern faculty as assistant professor of psychology in 1965 Sekuler was promoted to associate professor in 1968 and professor in 1973. His breadth of interests became recognized in his next three appointments at Northwestern: in 1978, professor of ophthalmology in the Medical School; in 1981, professor of neurobiology and physiology; and in 1986, John Evans Professor of Neuroscience. From 1975 to 1979 he served as chair of the Department of Psychology, and, from 1985 to 1988 as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1989 Sekuler left Northwestern to accept the position of Provost and Dean of Faculty at Brandeis University.
Sekuler held many positions with research groups, especially the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council. His own research interests were primarily in the fields of perception, vision, illusions, and reading, especially among the elderly. He obtained many research grants and contracts, chiefly from the U.S. Air Force s Office of Scientific Research, the National Institute on Aging, and the Army Research Institute. On June 25, 1961 Sekuler married Susan Pamela Nemser; they had three children: Stacia, Allison, and Erica.