Viterbo University Strides Magazine Online

Viterbo College Strides Magazine Winter 99

Viterbo receives $3 million gift
"This is a defining moment in the history of our institution."
The foundation was started by Mrs. Reinhart and her husband, La Crosse businessman and philanthropist, the late D.B. Reinhart, the owner of Gateway Foods, who died April 13, 1996.

The gift, the largest in the 108-year history of Viterbo, will be used to fund projects and initiatives described in “VISION 2005: A Renaissance for Living and Learning in the 21st Century,” the plan which will guide the college for the next six years.

“My husband was a person who placed great value in his faith, in his integrity, and in the well being of his family, friends and business associates,” said Marjorie Reinhart. “He would very much support the efforts of this very fine college in promoting ethics in leadership and the many excellent projects Viterbo is undertaking as part of ‘Vision 2005.’

“The Reinhart family has had an interest and investment in Viterbo’s health and development for a very long time. This gift results from a 30-plus year relationship with the college. It is our hope that Viterbo remains unique in offering students an exceptional value-based education which emphasizes faith, service, and leadership, and an education in which ethical decision-making is at the core.”

The Reinhart family has been actively involved in Viterbo affairs for over three decades.

Grace McDonald, FSPA, was president of Viterbo from 1970-80 and she recalled her contact with Reinhart during those early years.

“In my mind, Rhiny was a man of integrity. He was committed to faith, God and the others in his life. It was those traits that made him successful as a businessman and as a longstanding friend and advisor to the college,” S. Grace said.

VISION 2005, announced in March 1997, details a number of the new and distinguishing initiatives including:

  • Endowments for student scholarship, faculty development, technology enhancement, and educational ventures;
  • Capital projects including renovation of the Fine Arts Center atrium and lobby, a “Viterbo Court,” a V-Hawk outdoor athletic complex, a new residence complex and a Center for Ethics in Leadership. (Several building initiatives have already been completed; the Rose Terrace apartments, the V-Hawk Outdoor Athletic Complex; and the Fine Arts Center Entrance project.)
  • Creation of an Institute for Ethics in Leadership. Last October, the Institute was named in honor of D.B. Reinhart. Friends and business associates started a $450,000 endowment for the planning and implementation of programs which will be offered beginning this spring.

Medland indicated that the $3 million gift will offer Viterbo significant opportunities, one of which will be the self imposed challenge to match the gift.


La Crosse businessman D.B. Reinhart had a longstanding relationship with Viterbo College.

  • 1965 - D. B. Reinhart joins the Viterbo College Board of Advisors
  • 1973 - D. B. Reinhart joins the Viterbo College Board of Directors
  • 1980 - D.B. Reinhart receives the Pope John XXIII Award for Distinguished Service, Viterbo’s most prestigious non-academic award
  • 1988 - D.B. Reinhart establishes the Moral Obligation Scholarship for students of need.
  • 1990 - Viterbo College awards D.B. Reinhart an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree, only the fifth honorary degree presented by the college in its history.
  • 1997 - Viterbo establishes the Institute of Ethics in Leadership. Friends and associates of D.B. Reinhart donate $450,000 to establish an institute endowment.
  • 1998 - The D.B. and Marjorie A. Reinhart Family Foundation announce that Viterbo will receive a $3 million gift to be used to advance initiatives outlined in VISION 2005: A Renaissance for Living and Learning.