|Transfer to a lay board, 1967|
Webster University was owned and operated by the Sisters of Loretto from 1915 to 1967. In 1967, permission was granted by the Catholic Church to transfer ownership to an independent board of directors, the first time such a change had ever been made at a Catholic college. This change in status was controversial at the time and earned the school national headlines.
Three main reasons were given for the change:
The request for the transfer coincided with that of then Webster College President Jacqueline Grennan to be released from her vows. The reason given was that "she has continued to experience a personal conflict between her administrative responsibilities for an institution in the public sector and her voluntary submission to external juridical control by the church." 1
Permission to transfer ownership was granted in May, 1967.2 By October, 1967, a chairman of the board had been announced: Sanford J. Zimmerman, president of Famous Barr (a local department store).3 On November 17, 1967, Sister Mary Luke Tobin, Superior General of the Sisters of Loretto, announced that the transfer had been legally concluded.4
1 Webster College news release dated January 12, 1967.
Return to Webster University History Facts home