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Archival Collections

This guide provides descriptions of some of Webster University's archival collections

Biography, finding aid, and references

black and white portrait of Jacqueline Grennan WexlerJacqueline Grennan Wexler (1926–2012) was President of Webster College (now Webster University) from 1965–1969. She presided over the college's groundbreaking transfer to a lay board in 1967. After leaving Webster in 1969, she went on to serve as president of Hunter College and later the National Conference of Christians and Jews.


mainly 1965 to 1969

Physical extent

three boxes

Name of Creator

Jacqueline Grennan Wexler

Administrative/Biographical History

  • Born in Illinois
  • A.B., Webster College; M.A., Notre Dame University
  • Was a member of President Kennedy's Advisory Panel on Research and Development in Education and the steering committee for Project Head Start
  • Helped secure numerous grants from major foundations, including the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation, which helped fund innovations in the teacher education curriculum
  • Was instrumental in the transfer of ownership of the college to a lay board in 1967

Jacqueline Grennan Wexler resigned her position at Webster College in 1969 and became president of Hunter College in New York in 1970. A finding aid containing a detailed biographical sketch and information about her years at Hunter College is available.


Most items in the Jacqueline Grennan Wexler collection were created between 1965 and 1969 when she served as president of Webster College (now Webster University). The collection includes published materials by and about her as well as unpublished works such as addresses she gave at conferences, convocations, and commencement ceremonies. Correspondence is also part of the collection, Much of the content concerns the decision to transfer ownership of the college from the founding religious order, the Sisters of Loretto, to an independent lay board in 1967. The collection represents Wexler's professional life as a leader in higher education and does not include family correspondence, documents, and memorabilia.

System of Arrangement

Please consult the box and folder list.

Conditions of Access and Use

The collection is open for research use by appointment only.

Copyright Information

The Jacqueline Grennan Wexler collection is the physical property of Webster University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Languages and Scripts of the Material

Materials entirely in English.

Finding Aids

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were accumulated during Wexler's years on campus.

Additional Resources

Jacqueline Grennan Wexler later became president of Hunter College in New York.

Honors, Awards, and Career Highlights

black and white portrait of Jacqueline Grennan Wexler1963: Appointed to the President's Advisory Panel on Research and Development in Education

1964: Globe-Democrat Woman of Achievement

1965: Named to the Steering Committee of Project Head-Start, a program of the Office of Economic Opportunity

1965: Member of the Education Task Force for the Peace Corps

1965: "Newsmaker" award recipient of the St. Louis Chapter of Theta Sigma Phi, national honorary society for women in journalism

1966: Selected for the Academy of Missouri Squires

1967: Named Woman of Accomplishment, Harper's Bazaar

1967: Named to the President's Task Force on Urban Educational Opportunities

1968: First recipient of the New York University School of Education Annual Award for Creative Leadership in Education

1968: Elizabeth Cutter Morrow Award from the YWCA

1978: First woman elected to the board of directors of United Technologies Corporation

1979: National Award of Distinction from the Alumni Association, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

1980: First woman at the University of Pennsylvania to be named a Life Trustee

1982: First woman president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews

1985: Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Award, Webster University

1988: Abram L. Sachar (BDAE) Silver Medallion of the National Women's Committee of Brandeis University

1989: Albert Einstein Award, St. Louis chapter of the American Society for the Technion

1990: International Executive of the Year Award, J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University

Honorary Degrees

color photograph of Jacqueline Grennan Wexler in her doctoral regalia1966: Doctor of Humane Letters, Carnegie Institute of Technology

1967: Doctor of Humane Letters, Colorado College

1967: Doctor of Laws, Skidmore College

1967: Doctor of Humanities, University of Michigan

1968: Doctor of Humane Letters, Brandeis University

1968: Doctor of Laws, Franklin and Marshall College

1970: Doctor of Science, Central Michigan University

1970: Doctor of Laws, Temple University

1971: Doctor of Humane Letters, Syracuse University

1975: Doctor of Laws, Smith College

1979: Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Pennsylvania

1990: Doctor of Divinity, Lafayette College

1991: Doctor of Humane Letters, University of South Florida

2007: Doctor of Laws, Webster University

Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Transfer to a lay board, 1967

Webster College was the first Catholic college ever to transfer ownership from a Catholic order to a lay board. Below are some of the key documents related to this change.

Request for dispensation from juridical vows

At the same time Webster College was transitioning to a secular institution, Jacqueline decided to request that she be released from her vows. Below are her requests:

Letter of resignation

Jacqueline shared the news of her resignation and her upcoming wedding after almost four years as Webster College president:


Educational philosophy and higher education

Women in society


Sister J: Secret weapon. (1964, October 23). Life Magazine, vol. 57, no. 17, pp. 53–61.

Spotlight alumna. (1965, July-August). Notre Dame Alumnus, vol. 43, no. 3, p. 64.

St. Joan of Webster Groves. (1963, June 21). Time, vol. 81, no. 25, pp. 59–60.

Webster College's Sister Jacqueline pioneering new methods of teaching. (1963, August 8). St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Woo, William F. (1965, April 11). Sister J.—Always a questioning mind. St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


Callahan, Daniel. (1967, April 23). Sister Jacqueline becomes Miss Grennan and dramatizes: a crisis in Catholic education. New York Times Magazine, pp. 34–35, 62, 67–68, 72–74.

Dames, Joan F. (1967, January 20). Sister Jacqueline Grennan joins innovators. Chicago Daily News, section 2, p. 13.

Doyle, Patricia Jansen. (1967, July 15). The real world of Jacqueline Grennan. Saturday Review, pp. 58–59, 70–72.

Kaiser, Robert Blair. (1967, May 30). Jacqueline Grennan: Ex-nun. Look, vol. 31, no. 11, pp. 106–110.

Kaiser, Robert Blair. (1967, April). The nuns that quit. Ladies' Home Journal, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 82–83, 136–140.

Koury, Phil A. (1967, February 12). Sister Jacqueline turns 'Miss' for education. The Kansas City Star, pp. 1–2G.

Negri, Gloria. (1967, January 15). The college and the nun who vaulted the cloister wall. The Boston Globe, pp. 1, 70.

Sanford, Robert K. (1967, January 15). Miss Grennan tells of decision to leave her religious order. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. 1A, 7A.

Start, Clarissa. (1968, June 23). New world of Jacqueline Grennan. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. 1G.

Woo, William F. (1969, March-April). The secularization of Webster College. Change, pp. 42–46.

Worley, Ann. (1969, February 20). Ex-nun opts for freedom. Dallas Times Herald.


Brown, Dennis. (1979, May 20). Jacqueline Wexler--Still seeking challenges. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, pp. 1–2.

The lady is not for drowning. (1970, January 19). Time, vol. 95, no. 3, p. 55.

Secrest, Meryle. (1970, February 1). Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, 'Joan of Arc of Education'. St. Paul Sunday Pioneer Press, p. 5.

Secrest, Meryle. (1970, January 10-11). Jacqueline Wexler's latest challenge. St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Wood, Sue Ann. (1970, May 2-3). Jacqueline Wexler's newest headache. St. Louis Globe-Democrat.


Austin, Charles. (1982, July 30). Brotherhood group's new head. New York Times, p. B1.

O'Brien, Edward W. (1982, October 9-10). Leadership with common sense: Jacqueline Wexler now heads conference of Christians and Jews. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, p. D1.


Kuman, Kavita. (2012, January 26). Jacqueline G. Wexler led Webster University's break from Catholic Church. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A17.

Jacqueline Grennan Wexler. (2012, January 19). Webster-Kirkwood Times.

Lelis, Ludmilla. (2012, January 21). Jacqueline Grennan Wexler: Former nun was activist, president of 2 colleges. Orlando Sentinel.

Vitello, Paul. (2012, January 25). Jacqueline G. Wexler, 85, ex-nun who took on church. The New York Times, Section B, p. 18.