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An Honor For A Longtime Companion: $11 Million To Bryn Mawr College

July 24, 1996

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A man who spent 20 years in love with a neighbor he never married bequeathed $11 million to her alma mater in her honor.

Harvey Wexler, who died in October, left the gift to Bryn Mawr in honor of Joan Coward, a 1946 graduate who died of cancer six years before him. It is the largest ever to the school, $3 million more than one from the Pew Memorial Trust in 1979.

Wexler and Coward lived in modest one-bedroom apartments in the same building in Washington, D.C., for 20 years.

``They spent almost all day, every day together,″ said Coward’s sister-in-law, Margaret Johnson. ``But not, as she jokingly said, for breakfast.″

Both were economists, she for the government and he in private industry. They met at a conference when he saw her and asked a mutual friend for an introduction.

Talk of marriage came up from time to time, but it never happened.

``I guess they each wanted to maintain that certain separatedness and independence,″ Coward’s sister, Nancy Urban, said. ``They said the fact they weren’t married strengthened their relationship.″

Wexler’s gift will be used to create two professorships, one in economic history and named for his parents, Samuel and Etta Wexler, and the other, in political economy, named for Coward.

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