Loretto pioneer Jacqueline Grennan Wexler dies

Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, a former Sister of Loretto who served as president of New York's Hunter College, died Jan. 19 at her home in Orlando. She was 85.

Wexler was a woman who lived the pioneer spirit of the Loretto Community. I vaguely remember in 1967, when I heard the news that then-Sr. Jacqueline Grennan, president of Webster College (now University) in Webster Groves, Mo., was transferring control of the college to a lay board of trustees.

Since Webster was the first Catholic institution in the United States to do that, it caused an uproar in some church circles, but it was widely praised for its recognizing the institution’s potential growth as a secular institution.

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Jacqueline Grennan left the community in 1967 and married Paul Wexler, a music industry executive, and adopted his two children, Wendy and Wayne Wexler. She later rejoined Loretto as a co-member.

After serving as president of Hunter College in New York City in the 1970s, she went on to become president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, where she fostered interfaith dialogue and respect among adherents of different religious traditions.

Rest in peace, Jacqueline.


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