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College of Information alum leaves $1.2 million to school in will

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Julia Falcon | Staff Writer


The UNT College of Information is on the search for someone to fill the chair seat for the Jesse Reinburg endowment fund.

Reinburg graduated from what was originally called the UNT School of Library Sciences in 1941. She passed away last September, leaving $1.2 million in her estate to the College of Information.

When people leave money to UNT in their will, they do it one of three ways: give it to the school in full, put it toward something specific, or donate it to a broader subject.

Roy Grisham, senior director of development for planned giving, said an endowment fund is established for specific purposes, such as this one for the College of Information.

“Jesse was obviously thinking about the future generations. Her money went to two churches, and the University of North Texas,” Grisham said. “She realized there is a need for the future. She left it open to the college based on what the student needs, which is why they are still drafting it. It’s typically a great sign of a visionary. That makes this gift special.”

Establishing someone to fill a chair seat is important for the research or use of the money from the endowment.

“When you establish a chair, it is prestigious for the institution and the person in the chair. They will fill the position of the name chair, they do research,” Alan Thornton, director of development for the College of Information said. “Because this position is just now formulating, they have an idea of what to do with the money, but don’t have a plan yet. We get the money, search nationally for the chair, and the new dean who starts Aug. 15 will choose.”

Thornton also said the College of information has fewer chairs than other colleges at UNT, making this is a positive sign of growth.

“Having a named chair brings a little more notoriety to your college,” Thornton said. “It looks good for the college to have name chairs. It gives more prestige. We don’t know what the new dean and the new chair will want to do with the money or study.”

Grisham said once the college receives all of the money and gets someone in the chair, they can use the money however they please.

“Most people in the College of Information are masters or doctorate students. They are getting an advanced education to move forward in their profession,” Grisham said. “The money comes to us in shifts. There will be two more distributions by the time we get the money.”

At least 80 percent of donations and gifts to the university come from alumni, like Reinburg.

“When we got the call she passed away, I met with with the two representatives of the churches and an attorney,” Grisham said. “She wanted everything handled, and didn’t notify anyone except her attorney and executor that she was giving these very, very large gifts. This represents total liquidation of her estate.”

Thornton said that some of the work done at the College of Information is helping connect people, technology and data into one.

“Data science is kind of a new buzzword – you see it a lot in corporate America, all these different data points they collect,” Thornton said. “Big data is the collection of all this data. Data science is studying all of this data for corporate industry. Many alums are loyal to their major professor, and they are loyal to their graduated program.”

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Jesse Reinburg, 94 years old, passed away Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. Memorial service: 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 9, at University Methodist Church, 2416 W. Berry St., Fort Worth. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Joseph's Indian School, Box 326, Chamberlain, S.D. 57326.

Jesse was born Dec. 2, 1920, in Trinidad to Robert Lee Taaffe and Ruby Victoria King Taaffe. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 1941 with a B.S. degree in library science. Jesse married the love of her life, Joseph Hunter Reinburg, on July 19, 1952, in Dallas. During World War II, Jesse worked for the U.S. Intelligence Agency as a cryptographer. Her group intercepted and decoded the message that Japan was planning to bomb Pearl Harbor. Jesse was employed by the U.S. State Department and was responsible for establishing and managing libraries in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City, Mexico; Tokyo, Japan; Athens, Greece; Malta; Cyprus; and Turkey. Following her retirement from the State Department, Jesse returned to Fort Worth and worked for the Kimbell Art Museum as a retrospective cataloger. Jesse was a world traveler and a fabulous storyteller. She had a wonderful sense of humor, greatly appreciated the arts, loved parties and enjoyed meeting new people. She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Ruby Taaffe; two brothers, Richard Taaffe and Dee Taaffe; and her only sister, Francis Rittmann. Survivors: Brother, Thomas Taaffe; sisters-in-law, Marleny Taaffe and Selene Taaffe; nieces; nephews; grandnieces; grandnephews; and numerous loving family and friends. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dfw/obituary.aspx?pid=176034064#sthash.q4yuEPku.dpuf



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