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Distinguished Alumnae

Advocates for the underserved and the environment; healers of the sick; entrepreneurs, inventors and trailblazers in their fields; authors, artists and educators—Laurel women inspire us.
Since 1978 the Laurel School Alumnae Association has honored women who dreamed big dreams, dared to follow those dreams and in doing so broke barriers, became mentors, assumed leadership roles in their careers and communities and connected to the larger world.

The Distinguished Alumnae Awards

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  • Distinguished Alumna

    The Distinguished Alumna Award is given annually to one alumna, distinguished in her field of endeavor—professional, business or civic/volunteer—and who has already celebrated her 20th reunion.
  • Young Alumna of Distinction

    The Young Alumna of Distinction Award is given, at the discretion of the Distinguished Alumna Committee, to an alumna in her 20th reunion year or younger who has made a notable contribution to her field of endeavor—professional, business or civic/volunteer.
  • Lifetime Achievement

    The Lifetime Achievement Award is given at the discretion of the Distinguished Alumna Committee to any Distinguished Alumna nominee who has already celebrated her 50th reunion to honor a lifetime's body of work, volunteer and/or professional.

2022 Distinguished Alumna

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  • Deborah Hannon Rosenblum ’80

    Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs

    The United States Pentagon has not had many women appointees in its history (only 70 up through 2016, in fact). Onto that landscape walked Deborah Hannon Rosenblum ’80, who on July 20, 2021, was confirmed by unanimous consent by the US Senate to be the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.
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2022 Young Alumna of Distinction

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  • Jamie Taylor ’02

    LPGA professional, founder Black Golf Directory and JT Mobile Training

    Being a “founder” is not new to Jamie Taylor ’02.  In her Junior year at Laurel she started the golf team and then went on a full scholarship to Gannon University to play on the women’s varsity golf team, which she captained her junior and senior years and where she was the only African American female player in her conference.
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2022 Lifetime Achievement Award

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  • Jane Startzman ’70

    Co-founder and Director, Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival

    While still in Upper School at Laurel and passionate about dance, Jane Startzman ’70 identified the path her life would take and traveled after school to Akron studying with noted choreographer and ballet teacher Heinz Poll. In 1969 she joined Poll’s company in its second year–it officially would become the Ohio Ballet in 1974–and where, for the next 20 years, she danced principal roles in many of his ballets as well as those choreographed by Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, Laura Dean, Robert Joffrey, Anna Sokolow, Ruthana Boris and Pilobolus. She toured with Ohio Ballet throughout the United States, South America and Central America and performed as a guest artist with the Ballet Puertoriqueno and the Tampa Ballet.
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2022 Distinguished Alumnae Committee

Anita Tarar '91, Chair • Margery Bletcher Colloff '63 • Meg Merckens-Johnson '71 • Janice Lowe '81 • Maya Saalouke Noeth '03 • Andrea Lee Lai '06 • Berthy Feng '15

Past Distinguished Alumnae

These are the remarkable women role models on whom the Alumnae Association has bestowed its highest honors.
[YAD = Young Alumna of Distinction; LA = Lifetime Achievement]

List of 49 items.

  • 2022

    Deborah Hannon Rosenblum ’80
    Assistant Secretary for Defense of Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs

    Jamie Taylor ’02 (YAD)
    LPGA professional, founder Black Golf Directory and JT Mobile Training

    Jane Startzman ’70 (LA)
    Co-founder and Director, Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival
  • 2021

    Alison Feighan ’80
    Owner, The Feighan Team

    Therese Claxton Fleisher ’03 (YAD)
    Healthcare Integration Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services; COVID-19 incident Commander; Community Liaison for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative

    Timotha “Timy” McGoff Sullivan ’57 (LA)
    Animal Welfare Champion and Changemaker
  • 2020

    Dr. Ellen Rome '80
    Head of the Center for Adolescent Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Children’s and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University

    Grace Livingston ’06 (YAD)
    Community Leader in Grief Management and Mindfulness Training

    Betsy Kaufman Sampliner ’58 (LA)
    Educator and Community Volunteer
  • 2019

    Gwill York 75
    Co-Founder, Lighthouse Capital Partners

    Meghan Thornton Parquette 01 (YAD)
    Principal, Brooke Roslindale Charter School

    Janet MacMahon Carll 48 (LA)
    Community Volunteer
  • 2018

    Marne Levine ’88
    Chief Operating Officer, Instagram

    Tamara Broderick 03 (YAD)
    ITT Career Development Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Kathy Chilcote Pender ’55 (LA)
    Community Volunteer and Psychotherapist
  • 2017

    Deborah Becker ’73
    Research Senior Associate and Director, the IPS Employment Center, the Rockville Institute at Westat

    Caitlin Leibert ’03 (YAD)
    Head of Sustainability, Chipotle
  • 2016

    Holly Gleason ’81
    Writer, songwriter, music journalist, critic and publicist

    Nichelle McCall ’01 (YAD)
    Tech Entrepreneur
  • 2015

    Shelley Osmun Baranowski '64
    Historian, Author, Distinguished Professor
  • 2014

    Mary French Conway ’46
    Community Volunteer

    Lt. Katherine Wirtz ’05 (YAD)
    Officer, US Navy
  • 2013

    Sandy Buchanan ’74
    Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action

    Emily Johnson Jackle ’98 (YAD)
    Organic Farmer
  • 2012

    Barbara Peterson Ruhlman '50
    Philanthropist, Community Volunteer, Fundraiser
  • 2011

    Kathryn Hellerstein '70
    Assoc. Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Poet, Scholar/Translator of Yiddish poetry

    Tiffany Laufer '91 (YAD)
  • 2010

    Heather Roulston Ettinger '79
    Advocate for women and their financial health

    Amanda Cinalli '04 (YAD)
    Professional athlete (soccer)
  • 2009

    Virginia "Ginny" Foote '73
    President & Co-Founder of the US-Vietnam Trade Council

    Camilla Taylor '89 (YAD)
    Attorney, Lambda Legal
  • 2008

    Elizabeth D. McKinley ’78
    Physician, Academic Society Dean at Case Western Reserve Univ.

    Roopal Patel '89 (YAD)
    Physician, President's Initiative on Malaria
  • 2007

    Kay Sproat Chorao '54
    Children's book illustrator and author

    Kathleen Sullivan ’85
    Nuclear disarmament activist and educator
  • 2006

    Carol Madison Graham '74
    Executive Director of the US-UK Fulbright Commission
  • 2005

    A. Lindsay Frazier ’76
    Pediatric oncologist and researcher
  • 2004

    Mary DeCredico '77
    Author, historian and Vice Academic Dean, U.S. Naval Academy
  • 2003

    Virginia deConingh Fleming '48
    Activist for social reform
  • 2002

    Katharine Lee Reid '59
    Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art
  • 2001

    Elisabeth Galvin Kirsch ’58
    Founder/Director of domestic abuse shelter
  • 2000

    Nina Freedlander Gibans ’50
    Arts advocate extraordinaire
  • 1999

    Anne Hopkins Burnham '47
    Community activist, preservationist

    Elizabeth Morrison Marcotte '69
    Environmentalist, energy conservation consultant
  • 1998

    Sylvia Robinson Cruess '47
    Physician, hospital administrator and health policy maker
  • 1997

    Sally Pastorelle Reed '57
    Physician and founder of a free clinic
  • 1996

    Anne Hollis Reese '55
    Mental health educator
  • 1995

    Betty Hitchcock Rose '33
    Civic Activist and Inventor
  • 1994

    Joan Shook '72
  • 1994

    Priscilla Tyler '26
    Educator and specialist in Aboriginal literature and art
  • 1993

    Kathryn Beck Kris '51
  • 1993

    Lucy M. Ziurys '75
  • 1992

    Donna Ferrato '68
  • 1991

    Jean Steel '53
    Nurse Practitioner
  • 1990

    Andy Logan Lyon '38
    Journalist, Columnist
  • 1989

    Gwill Linderme Newman '50
    Brain research and mental health activist
  • 1988

    Helen Teagle Clements '26
    Lobbyist for nursing home standards
  • 1987

    Anne O'Neil '46
    Provincial, The Sacred Heart Order in the United States
  • 1986

    Mary Ellen Beck Wohl '50
    Chief of Respiratory Diseases, Boston Children's Hospital
  • 1986

    Elaine Grasselli Hadden '49
    Community Revitalization Activist
  • 1985

    Myra Evans Lapeyrolerie '77
  • 1985

    Louise Ireland Humphrey '37
    President, Metropolitan Opera Association
  • 1984

    Terry Horvitz Kovel '46
    Authority on antiques/collectibles
  • 1983

    Susan Crile '60
  • 1982

    Ann Denton Blair '31
    Radio and TV Bureau Chief
  • 1981

    Mary Feil Hellerstein '39
  • 1980

    Natalie Moore Babbitt '50
    Children's book author/illustrator
  • 1979

    Elizabeth Brooks Ford '14
    Public health and nursing education advocate
  • 1978

    Kate Ireland '48
    Chair, Board of Governors, Frontier Nursing Service

Alumnae in the News

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