Archie Edgar still remembers how Professor Marie-Emma Bacher would call on him in his freshman French course in the fall of 1946: “Mon-SIEUR Ar-chi-BAL,” she would pronounce, to his chagrin. (He prefers to go by Archie rather than his given name, Archibald.)
But this unwanted attention for the shy Army veteran, who had served in General Patton’s 14th Armored Division in Europe, turned out to be a boon when he met a fellow French student, the lovely and equally shy Charlotte Pederson. It was as if they had been made for each other.
Archie left Wagner College after one year, but he never left Charlotte. He completed his degree in business administration at Rutgers in 1949, while she continued at Wagner as an English major, graduating in 1950. They were happily married for 62 years, until her passing in 2012.
He had a long career with the National Biscuit Company, retiring as senior purchasing agent. While making his estate plan after his wife’s death, Archie thought not only of his alma mater, Rutgers, but also of Charlotte’s — Wagner College, the place that had brought them together.
With a scholarship in Charlotte’s name to be left to Wagner College at his death, Archie Edgar has become one of the newest members of Wagner’s Heritage Society.
“The Heritage Society is a way to honor and recognize people who have made one of the most important decisions in their lives: to leave part of their assets to the College, to benefit other young people as they were benefitted,” says Howard Braren ’50 H’12, the alumnus and Wagner trustee who founded this group about 13 years ago.
Braren, who has had a long career as a fundraising consultant for nonprofits, is delighted with the response to the Heritage Society. Although some do not wish to make their estate plans known to the College, the vast majority “are proud they’ve done it,” he says.
And their posthumous gifts have made a huge difference to the College. For example, estates from Herbert Vaughan ’34, Erma Rudloff Coutts ’39, and Leroy N. Houseman ’55 M’57 contributed about $4 million to the Main Hall restoration effort. Others provide thousands of dollars in scholarships annually.
“I know Charlotte would have been so happy to be remembered for helping students at Wagner studying English literature,” says Archie. “We both thank Wagner College and its splendid personnel for the opportunity to do so.”