School 09

ML McLaughin Bookbinder

January 29, 1931 ~ October 14, 2020 (age 89)


Dr. Marylou McLaughlin, 89, died October 14, 2020, in Southbury, CT.

ML, as friends and colleagues called her, was born January 29, 1931, in East Orange, NJ, to Thomas G. and Alicia V. McLaughlin. She cultivated a love for music as a young girl, and developed skill as a piano player and singer. Other beloved childhood pastimes were horseback riding and swimming at the Jersey shore. During these early years ML developed an affinity for cats: she would come to befriend many throughout her lifetime.

After completing bachelors and master's degrees at Villanova University, she began her career as an educator as principal of Villa Caparra preparatory school, in Puerto Rico. Later ML returned to work at Villanova, distinguishing herself as an activist for civil liberties during the late 1960s, especially as chairman of the Board of Housing and Urban Renewal in Newburgh, NY.

ML received her PhD in Communications Arts from University of Wisconsin. In 1969, she joined the faculty at Hunter College, where her vibrant lecture style made ML a favorite among her students. While teaching at Hunter, ML met her beloved husband, Sigmund Bookbinder, a photographer. They shared a love of art, movies, and NYC life in general, and were married May 6, 1972.

In 1981, ML joined the University of New Haven, where she taught memorably and served as Dean, College of Business, until 1994. In 1995, she was appointed President and CEO of University of New Haven Foundation, establishing a new academic center to address emerging needs and requirements for global business education. One particularly successful result of her Foundation work was the M. L. McLaughlin Riyadh Program, funded by HRH Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud to enhance education for women in Saudi Arabia. In addition, ML helped establish the University’s Center for Family Business, and served as Director of the University’s Executive MBA program, the oldest such program in CT. In recognition of her contributions the University awarded ML an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration at the December 2019 Graduation.

ML and Sig shared a love of animals, and rescued countless cats and dogs in the years they lived in Southbury. On weekends, ML and Sig enjoyed various pastimes such as attending trotter horse races and, with friends Jay and Joanne, visiting flea markets and estate sales in search of collectible toasters and radios, until Sig’s death in 2014. ML was able to remain in her home for years after Sig’s passing with the help of five loving and faithful caretakers. The sound of their familiar voices brought a smile to ML’s face even in her last days.

A successful businessperson and educator, ML led by example. Her fine leadership was appreciated by all who knew her, as evidenced by the many awards and recognitions she received, as well as the numerous committees and boards on which she served. Many especially appreciated that ML served as an inspirational role model for female students.

ML was predeceased by her two younger brothers, James M. McLaughlin and Thomas V. McLaughlin. She is survived by her two sisters, Sharon A. Cullinan and Mary J. Gropper, and six nieces. To leave a message of remembrance, please visit

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Cryptside Service

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