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Last modified: Monday, January 5, 2009

Woman of the Year: Laurie Burns McRobbie


Our opinion -- Woman of the Year: Laurie Burns McRobbie

The New Wings Community Partnership is about to meet its goal of raising about $5 million to refurbish a downtown building and launch programs that will help countless women and children break free from the chains of domestic violence and rebuild their lives with new skills and a supportive environment.

At the core of the New Wings project is Laurie Burns McRobbie. She served as chair of the fund-raising campaign and was a leading advocate for the project as a board member of Middle Way House.

Laurie Burns McRobbie

Laurie Burns McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

For her work with Middle Way and other community organizations, particularly WonderLab, she has been picked as the H-T's Woman of the Year for 2008.

Charlotte Zietlow, economic development coordinator of Middle Way, said McRobbie's work with New Wings and Middle Way went well beyond her status as Indiana University's "First Lady."

"Her contribution, I believe, has enabled us to make this the COMMUNITY partnership it has become," Zietlow said in an e-mail. "She has not been a figurehead — au contraire.

"This process has been an amazing process, really daunting, but without active visible leadership which is both skilled and wonderfully personal, I think it would have been infinitely more difficult and fear it may not have been nearly as productive." Laurie Burns McRobbie provided that leadership perfectly.

She also worked many hours for the WonderLab Museum of Health, Science and Technology.

"Laurie is truly an extraordinary individual ... .", said Catherine Olmer, WonderLab executive director. "She provides invaluable service to WonderLab as a board member, helping to both guide the museum in its operations and plan for the future.

"She understands the fundamentally important educational role of WonderLab to south-central Indiana, helping to better prepare today's children for the higher education opportunities, and scientific and technical careers of tomorrow."

Laurie Burns McRobbie's work with these two important community organizations, along with countless other efforts on behalf of community groups, earned her the Woman of the Year designation for 2008.