Giving To Laurel > The Butler Challenge

The Butler Challenge

Transformational gifts are defined as those having an impact larger than the number of actual dollars.  On August 13, 2007, Laurel School was delighted to announce that the Board of Trustees voted to accept the largest single gift from a donor in the School’s history.  The $5 million gift to Laurel’s permanent endowment was given to the School by John and Alice Lehmann Butler ’49 of Dubuque, Iowa.  In honor of the Butler’s generosity, the Board also voted to rename the Fairmount Campus, the School’s second campus consisting of 140-acres with facilities for athletics and outdoor education in Geauga County, as The Butler Campus. 

After Mrs. Butler graduated from Laurel in 1949, she completed her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She and her husband, John Butler, moved to Dubuque, Iowa, in 1957 so that John could join the family business – Cottingham & Butler, an insurance firm founded in 1887 by John Butler’s great-grandfather and currently the 51st largest insurance brokerage in the country.

Mrs. Butler, who played field hockey while at Laurel and Wellesley and on an amateur team while living in Cleveland after college, says that her passion for fitness and athletics was inspired by her teachers at Laurel School.  An accident five years ago in Morocco reminded her of that legacy from Laurel.  Mrs. Butler believes she and her husband survived the accident, in part, due to their consistent, long-standing fitness regime.

The Butler Challenge provides an opportunity for you to participate in this exciting fundraising initiative.  The Butlers' gift requires Laurel School to raise an additional $5 million in gifts from other donors.  One-half, or $2.5 million, of the new dollars are to be designated toward Laurel's Butler Campus; the other half, or $2.5 million, is to be designated toward the Faculty Investment Initiative endowment, to assist the School in providing competitive compensation as it seeks to engage the best faculty, staff and coaches available.

Floor plans for The Butler Center and Naming Opportunities provide a snapshot of the exciting new facility, completed in August 2010.  A three-dimensional fly-by of the Alice Lehmann Butler Center for Fitness and Wellness illuminates the beauty and functional reality of this incredible addition to Laurel School.

Without outstanding faculty, staff and coaches, beautiful buildings and exceptional programs lack heart.  The Butler Challenge seeks to reinforce both heart and soul in the life of Laurel School.

Gifts toward The Butler Challenge may be made online or for more information, please contact:

Deborah Farquhar Jones
Director of Development and External Affairs