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The Buzz

The Past and Present Converge in a Promise for the Future

Apr 2, 2024

In the 1850s, Elisha Rinehart helped build Waynesburg College’s first building, Hanna Hall.  

Just a teenager at the time, Elisha could not have known that more than a century later, his great-great grandson would have his first two classes as a college student in that very building.  

“As a student at Waynesburg College, my first classes were in Hanna Hall, having no idea of Elisha's role,” said 1967 alumnus Albie Rinehart. “Actually, I had no idea about most things at that time of my life.” 

His years at Waynesburg College would prove to be a pivotal time for Rinehart– a time during which he would make discoveries about himself and his heritage; meet his wife, former student Donna (Jones); and find his calling as he gained the skills necessary to launch a meaningful career as a teacher at West Greene School District, as well as 20 years of service as a soldier and staff sergeant with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.  

I felt truly blessed, given the passion to be a teacher of three generations of children, and for being placed in West Greene School District, where I belonged, where I could do the most good."

Albie Rinehart

Known fondly by the students at Graysville Elementary as Mr. Rinehart, Albie nurtured their love for learning through his ability to develop their self-esteem, bringing joy to the classroom for three and a half decades.  

“In my 35 years of teaching, I continued to grow,” said Rinehart. “I felt truly blessed, given the passion to be a teacher of three generations of children, and for being placed in West Greene School District, where I belonged, where I could do the most good.” 

During his tenure as a teacher and math specialist at West Greene, Rinehart was placed in many leadership positions and recognized as a semi-finalist for the Pennsylvania State Teacher of the Year in 2000. Successfully balancing his flourishing career in education with his responsibilities within the National Guard, Rinehart was also a recipient of the U.S. Army Commendation for Meritorious Service and the Pennsylvania Commendation for Meritorious Service. 

His love for teaching also brought him back to Waynesburg College, where he taught and inspired future educators as a part-time instructor in the College’s Education Department for five years, prior to his retirement.  

Waynesburg University has remained close to the Rineharts’ hearts over the years, and both Albie and Donna are committed to blessing the lives of others through contributions to the University. The pair has generously included the University in their wills, a gift which will help secure the long-term growth and financial stability of the institution for generations of students to come.

“Donna and I have been blessed in our lives, as our ancestors had been,” said Rinehart. “As we have no children, we have found it in our hearts to include Waynesburg University in our estate planning.” 

In addition, they have established and made contributions over the years to the Rinehart Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Kathleen Snider Rinehart and Mikayla A. Amick ’18 Endowed Scholarship Fund, named in honor of his mother and a recent Waynesburg alumna.  Rinehart’s sister, Beverly Rutherford, and her children, Eric, Lori and Kurt, have also generously supported the scholarship funds.  

“For us, this is about making an impact for others and the positive outcomes that will bring,” Rinehart said. 

With their own heritage rooted deeply in Waynesburg, Albie and Donna’s promise for the future will strengthen the University’s roots for years to come. 

Rinehart Roots Run Deep

Rinehart family photo
Elisha Rinehart, age 83, pictured with his great
grandchild, Russell Rinehart, in

The Rinehart family’s roots run deep in Greene County, with a rich history dating back to the mid 1850s. 

In 1859, Albie’s great-great grandfather, Elisha Rinehart, used his earnings from working on the construction of Waynesburg College’s Hanna Hall to buy a 224-acre farm in Jackson Township.  

As he added to the farm over the years, Elisha eventually became one of the largest real estate holders in southwestern Pennsylvania. His son, George N. Rinehart, continued to purchase land. The father and son pair held an estimated 2,000 acres in Jackson Township at one time.   

George and his wife, Hester Moore Rinehart, also established and operated the general store and Post Office at Delphene in 1889. Hester’s November 1955 obituary included that she “saw the excitement which prevailed in the Delphene and Bristoria sections when the first oil and gas wells were being drilled and lines laid,” – the beginnings of a gas and oil boom that would lead to prosperity for local landowners before the Great Depression transformed the economy.  

Born in 1943, Albie left the farm with his family by age six and moved to Waynesburg, where today he keeps his ancestors’ legacy alive through his promise for the future – helping the next generation of Waynesburg University students achieve its dreams.  

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” - Philippians 2:4 

The Lamp and President's Report

This article is an excerpt from the 2022-23 Waynesburg University Magazine, The Lamp and President's Report.