Lindsay J. Morgenthaler, a prominent university trustee and Cleveland
civic leader, died on December 3, 2018 in Palo Alto, California. She was
96 years old.
Mrs. Morgenthaler served as President, Chairman and Trustee of a
multitude of educational, media, theatrical, medical, philanthropic and
civic institutions in Cleveland, Ohio and nationally. She proved
extraordinarily effective as manager and as fundraiser for her
organizations, raising over $2 billion in charitable donations.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Lindsay Morgenthaler received a
Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in 1945. After
World War II, she married David T. Morgenthaler, an MIT graduate,
entrepreneur and pioneering venture capitalist, with whom she had four
After relocating to Cleveland, Ohio, Mrs. Morgenthaler began a career of
educational and civic leadership that spanned four decades. She served
as President of the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival (GLSF), one of four
Shakespearean repertory companies in North America, and led it to
national prominence. GLSF launched the careers of many actors including
Tom Hanks and John Lithgow.
At Carnegie Mellon University, Mrs. Morgenthaler served 25 years as Life
Trustee and Chairman of the Andrew Carnegie Society, President’s Circle
and National Fund development campaigns. Her fundraising efforts raised
over $1 billion dollars and, together with Presidents Richard Cyert and
Robert Mehrabian, she led Carnegie Mellon’s development into a globally
recognized leader in computer science and performing arts education.
At Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Mrs. Morgenthaler served 15
years as Trustee and Chairman of the CWRU Medical School campaign,
raising $250 million dollars.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Lindsay Morgenthaler to the
President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the Kennedy Center in
Washington, D.C., where she served during both terms of his presidency.
Later, President George H.W. Bush appointed her to the Bicentennial
Commission in preparation for the nation’s Bicentennial in 1996.
In Cleveland, Ohio, Mrs. Morgenthaler served for decades as Vice
Chairman of the Cleveland Ballet and of Playhouse Square Foundation. She
also served as Trustee of the Cleveland Foundation, Leadership
Cleveland, WVIZ-TV Public Television, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland
Town Hall, Lakewood Hospital and numerous other charitable and
Together with her husband David, she funded a professorship of
entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, a founding sponsorship
of the Entrepreneurship Center at MIT, the Morgenthaler Fellows Program
at the Cleveland Clinic, the David T. Morgenthaler II Fellows Program at
Stanford University and the Einstein Society of the National Academies.
“Lindsay Morgenthaler lived a life in service to her family and her many
causes. She was altruistic and used her wealth to support people and
causes in education, entrepreneurship and the arts. She did not seek
leadership but was consistently chosen. As a leader, she was purposeful,
results-oriented, persevering and extremely effective. She took no
credit but was humble, self-effacing and redirected recognition to
others,” said her son, Gary Morgenthaler, Partner at Morgenthaler
Ventures. “Trained as an artist, Lindsay was creative, gracious and
refined. Lindsay was described by colleagues as ‘an elegant bundle of
auburn-haired determination.’ For forty years, leaders from the
‘Greatest Generation’ welcomed her into boardrooms as one of their own.
She was a woman ahead of her time.”
Lindsay Morgenthaler is survived by her children, Gary, Todd and Lissa,
and by seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
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