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Bridges: Designing, Building, Preserving
Celebrating 125 Years
A FAMILY LEGACY
Ruth Ann Reinhardt Watkins (’81 textiles and clothing)
remembers her mother as always looking “just so.” No matter
where she went, Mary Alice Anderson Reinhardt (’49 textiles and
clothing) was always impeccably dressed.
“She was always dressed beautifully,” said Ruth of her mother,
who died in March 2002. “She believed that your clothes have a strong
influence on how you feel and act.”
Mary Alice’s appreciation for fine clothing and textiles has been
recognized by her husband, Bill (’48 civil engineering), and her
four children through their $100,000 commitment to support the future
Center for Visual Learning in Textiles and Clothing gallery that will
occupy a portion of Morrill Hall.
The textiles and clothing gallery will provide opportunities for textiles
and clothing students to display their designs, set merchandising displays,
and install exhibits showcasing items from the university’s 7,500-piece
“Mary Alice had strong interests in both museums and textiles,”
said Bill. “I know it would please her very much to see those two
interests come together in one location, especially on the Iowa State
“Mother was an extraordinary homemaker who passed her love for sewing
on to her daughters,” said Ruth. “From junior high on, my
sister and I were making most of our own clothes.”
In addition to raising four children, Mary Alice also made time to give
a great deal to her community. She served as president of the local historical
society and as a city council member in Centralia, Mo., and was key in
establishing the town as a Tree City. In addition to serving on the local
hospital board of directors, she was active in the United Methodist Church
on a local and state level.
Her involvement continued at Iowa State as well. Mary Alice was a lifetime
member of the Alumni Association and served on the Memorial Union’s
board of directors. The Alumni Band awarded her the Grace Note as she
supported Bill during his presidency of that group.
“Mother was always looking toward the future,” said Ruth.
“She believed in planting trees and building endowments, so beauty
and knowledge could surround those who lived beyond her.”
In that spirit, the family’s gift to honor their mother is a fitting
In addition to Bill Reinhardt, contributors to the family gift are the
Reinhardt’s children: Ruth Watkins, Columbus, Ohio; Curtis Reinhardt,
San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Paul Reinhardt, Houston, Texas; and Rebecca Waller,
Eden Prairie, Minn.
The Reinhardt gift is part of a $9 million campaign to bring Morrill Hall
back to its former prominence
as a focal point of the central ISU campus and provide new homes for three
departments. In addition to the Center for Visual Learning in Textiles
and Clothing, the building will also house the new Christian Petersen
Art Museum and the university’s Center for Teaching Excellence.
To date, more than $5.5 million has been raised for the renovation and
remodeling. The majority of the funds have been privately raised. To help
create a new legacy for Iowa State’s Morrill Hall, call Jennifer
Newcom at 1-866-419-6768.
the Writer | Jason Menke is assistant director of communications
for the ISU Foundation.