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Legacy for Laurel

Transformational Giving

It is safe to say that Barbara’s times at Laurel not only made an impact on her and her family, but also will impact future generations of Laurel girls for decades to come with her transformational estate gift totaling $4.6 million. A dedicated mother, volunteer and philanthropist, Barbara served Laurel in many capacities, including as a member of the Board of Trustees for 20 years, chairing the Development Committee and serving on the Executive Committee and the Building and Grounds Committee. Barbara also was an Honorary Chair of Laurel’s 125th Anniversary Celebration. She was presented with Laurel’s Distinguished Alumna Award in 2012 and was named Trustee Emerita in 2010.
Apart from her exceptional board service, Barbara was committed to ensuring that Laurel School preserved its historic campus. In her lifetime, she supported several key capital projects, including building renovations and outdoor improvements. Laurel’s Alumnae Suite and the second floor of the Upper School Library are both named in her honor, and the Development Suite is named by Barbara in honor of her father, Thomas F. Peterson.

Her estate gift will support Laurel School’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, Laurel is Where She Begins. Three million dollars will be allocated to Laurel’s Butler Campus in Geauga County to support the creation of The Ruhlman Family Center for Environmental Learning, which will add six multi-use classrooms, two laboratories and a gathering place at Butler. Additional funds supported renovations at Laurel’s Lyman Campus in Shaker Heights that took place in the summer of 2022, as well as an endowed maintenance fund for annual upkeep and repair. Future plans include a memorial garden on the Lyman Campus.

Aside from her volunteer work with Laurel, Barbara volunteered at University Hospitals for nearly eight decades, culminating in her appointment as a Lifetime Trustee. She was an active community volunteer and enjoyed sailing and spending time with family.
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