Elizabeth Reinhardt – 2007

CLASS NOTE:
Elizabeth Reinhardt ‘07 received her M.S. in integrated marketing communications from West Virginia University in December 2011. Since February 2012, Elizabeth has worked as the marketing director for Gold, Khourey and Turak, L.C., a personal injury law firm in Moundsville, W.V. There she oversees all aspects of marketing including advertising, research and community relations. Prior to this position, she was employed by West Liberty University for five years as Coordinator of Alumni Activities.
She credits her experience at West Liberty University as the guidepost to her educational, professional and personal development success. Elizabeth is especially grateful towards Ms.Tammi Secrist, Prof. Jean Bailey and Prof. Carrie White for their consistent mentoring. Additionally, the Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter holds a special place in her heart for their “dream big, it’s possible” inspiration and leadership.
Elizabeth is an advocate for the Sarcoma Foundation of America and Headbands of Hope cancer research and support programs. In addition, she is an active member of the Ohio County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, EZ Networking Group and Out of the Darkness (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) Upper Ohio Valley Chapter.
SPECIAL STORY:
During her employment at West Liberty, the institution launched a marketing campaign themed, “I chose West Lib”. Elizabeth would listen to story after story from alumni but could not come to her own genuine realization of why she chose to attend the school. It wasn’t until a decade after college enrollment that it finally came to her.
In 2003, Elizabeth was preparing to graduate from Wheeling Park High School and was lost in selection of a college. She didn’t have a strong intention to further her education. Her dad, David, encouraged her to attend West Liberty. He labored for over 30 years in the steel industry and desired a better life for his daughter. So she enrolled. On move-in day, Elizabeth silently sat in the back seat of her parent’s Jeep as they rode up the windy hill of Route 88. Once all of her belongings where piled into Rogers Hall 202, David took a deep breath, leaded against the car and said “look how beautiful it is up here.”
Elizabeth spent the next four years like any typical college student: hanging out in residential lounges, picking up a work-study job, studying all night for a test the next day. And ironically, through all the endless friendships and unforgettable times created at West Liberty, Elizabeth’s most cherished moments became those of attending football games with her dad during his Hilltop visits.
One holiday season, Ross Klick ’69, Pittsburgh alum, gifted David a West Liberty wind jacket. David proudly wore this jacket to not only football games but everywhere possible. Occasionally David would run into Athletic Director, Jim Watson, while grocery shopping. With excitement, David would initiate the regular conversation with his daughter: “Bananas are on sale and guess who I ran into?!” “Jim Watson.” “Yeeaahh, how’d you know? I told him that (insert David’s sideline coaching note of the week.)”
During the summer of 2012, David discovered a lump in his left tricep. After surgical removal, he was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma, a rare cancer. Months of radiation followed but the aggressive cancer caused the tumor to grow back and travel to his lungs. Chemo treatment was recommended and David was accepted into a clinical trial with the Shadyside Cancer Center of UPMC. During the treatment, he experienced some health setbacks. One Sunday afternoon, he was rushed from Wheeling Hospital to the cancer center. This was a familiar trip taken by the Reinhardts every third Friday for chemo treatment. And just like every trip, David had his West Liberty jacket; only this time, in the arms of his loving wife, Jane. Upon room admission, Jane hung the jacket in the closet. After a 48-hour stay, David appeared lively; he was enjoying talking with his adult children and eating ice cream. Earlier the family had been informed that the cancer spread to the brain; the next treatment step would be to keep David comfortable. The center reserved a room at Liza’s Place Valley Hospice Center and Elizabeth prepared her dad for transport. A knock struck on the door and the room suddenly became filled with bodies: a doctor, a nurse and two ambulance drivers. A rush came over Elizabeth to gather all of David’s belongings and exit the room. On the drive back to Wheeling, Elizabeth received a call from her mom, “Did you grab his jacket?” A wave of disappointment and frustration hit her; she forgot to check the closet! While Elizabeth insisted, “just let them throw it away,” Jane knew the significance of this jacket. She soon arranged with UPMC and her close friend, Sue, to get the jacket back. So while David was in hospice care, Sue drove up to Pittsburgh and returned the jacket directly to its owner.
On Friday, May 03, 2013, David lost his courageous battle and passed away peacefully. The Reinhardt family received cards, visits and phone calls from several West Liberty friends and alumni. This was not only because of Elizabeth’s relation to West Liberty but because of David’s very special connection to the University.
David’s jacket was taken to his home where it still hangs in the hallway by the front door. Elizabeth will keep that jacket in mind as she heads up on the hill for Homecoming 2013 to attend her first football game without her dad. It will always symbolize as a reminder to Elizabeth of why she chose West Lib.