IU first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie speaks about power of women and philanthropy

Nov. 5, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie dedicated today's Indiana Governor's Conference for Women to the late Elinor Ostrom, who received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her groundbreaking research on the ways that people organize themselves to manage resources.

Hosted in Indianapolis, the inaugural conference is aimed at helping connect women and offer strategies and techniques to optimize success for career or business goals. McRobbie was among the day's featured speakers, which include Emmy Award-winning television show host, entrepreneur and author Martha Stewart and former Undersecretary of State Charlotte Beers.

McRobbie said Ostrom exemplified a tradition of women's leadership at Indiana University, including a lifetime of gifts to the university from her and her late husband, Vincent, that totaled nearly $4 million.

"Indiana University is honoring the legacy Lin and so many others have left with its women's philanthropy program, which brings women leaders together to make a positive difference for IU today, and for all those who come after them, just as Lin did," McRobbie said. "She believed in the power of one to make a difference, and she believed that the important issues of the day must be tackled by women, and men, of integrity, strength of mind and faith in others to join and work together."

Ostrom was senior research director of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Distinguished Professor and Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, and professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She passed away in 2012 at the age of 78.

Today's speech wasn't the only high-profile engagement this week for IU's first lady, who also spoke Monday in Indianapolis at a Council for Advancement and Support of Education conference titled, "Women's Philanthropy Programs: Working Toward WP 3.0."

That conference, which continues today, focuses on why an intentional approach to engage and empower women in philanthropy is critical in today's world. Other speakers include Debra Mesch, director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

During that speech, McRobbie praised the work of women worldwide to ensure progress in the communities around them.

McRobbie is founding co-chair of the IU Women's Philanthropy Council, whose mission is to lead fundraising and engagement efforts that inspire women to give their time, talent and resources to Indiana University and to develop female leaders in philanthropy.