Trustee Sara Moll honored with President’s Award for Visionary Achievement

Community service was a formative part of Sara Moll’s childhood. That value would influence the Case Western Reserve University triple-alumna and trustee’s decision to dedicate her professional life—and later, her philanthropy—to serving others, especially those in vulnerable populations. 

Photo of Sara Moll.
Sara Moll

To honor her commitment and impact, Case Western Reserve University President Eric W. Kaler will present Moll with the President’s Award for Visionary Achievement during convocation at the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center on Wednesday, May 15. This annual award is given to individuals who provide exceptional philanthropic service to the university, the world and humanity.

Last year, Moll and her husband, Curt, partnered with the university on a $60 million investment to launch the Sara and Curt Moll Institute for Mental Health and Well-Being. The institute will combine research, education, clinical collaborations and community outreach to increase the number of caregivers in greater Cleveland, catalyze breakthrough discoveries for advancing mental health and help ensure that research-backed approaches reach the people who need them most.

“Sara identifies a need and takes action—and her approach to solving the mental health crisis and promoting well-being is both global and long-term,” Kaler said. “The Sara and Curt Moll Institute for Mental Health and Well-Being will drive sustainable and meaningful change to improve lives.”

A journey to service

Moll, a Dallas native, came to Case Western Reserve shortly after getting married and proceeded to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1966. She and her husband started a family and became busy parents—Moll stayed at home raising their three sons and daughter, while her husband, Curt, served as CEO of the Northeast Ohio company MTD Products Inc. All the while, Moll felt a call to help others. 

She returned to her alma mater when she was in her 40s, earning her master’s in psychology in 1990 and her PhD in psychology two years later. 

“At times, being a student was overwhelming, but I was so stimulated as a learner,” Moll recalled. She credits her husband’s unwavering support for her plans to return to school as a critical component to her success. 

Commitment to women, families and mental health

With her PhD in hand, Moll spent one year as a postdoctoral fellow at University Hospitals. She then became a clinical faculty member at Case Western Reserve and a clinical psychologist at the Ohio Department of Mental Health, where she worked extensively with emotionally disturbed children and their families. In 2003, she founded Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center in Kamm’s Corner.   

Throughout the early 2000s, Moll grew increasingly concerned about the country’s growing mental health crisis, the impact of mass shootings, and the shortage of trained clinicians to treat and support those in need. She was compelled to act. 

In 2022, she reached out to Provost and Executive Vice President Joy K. Ward, then dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and proposed what eventually became the Sara and Curt Moll Institute for Mental Health and Well-Being. The Molls have pledged $23.5 million to the total $60 million collaboration with Case Western Reserve. 

“People are in pain and they are suffering. Just as we know that we need more doctors and nurses, we also need more professionals in psychology to help people,” Moll explained. “With the institute, we hope to improve the health and wellbeing of those in the Cleveland community and beyond.”