Marymount University has received a $2.8 million gift from the Reinsch Pierce Family Foundation to renovate and repurpose one of the oldest buildings on its main campus in Arlington.
The gift will fund the creation of the Reinsch Pierce Family Campus Hub, a new 6,240-square-foot facility that will include a Barnes & Noble Bookstore and spirit shop; a faculty, student and visitor meeting and social gathering space; and Lola’s Café, with a terrace overlooking campus and the Converse Family Field. The Campus Hub will result from the renovation of the former Ireton Hall, located in the geographic center of the University’s main campus.
“The entire Marymount community will benefit enormously for decades to come thanks to this latest example of the Reinsch Pierce family’s generosity,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “Marymount cherishes its multi-generational bond with this philanthropic family. This transformational gift will significantly improve the quality of life for Marymount students and members of the community as a whole.”
The Café’s namesake is in honor of philanthropist Lola Reinsch, Chief Executive Officer of the Arlington-based real estate development and property management firm Reinsch Companies, which initiated the gift to Marymount. She is also President of the Reinsch Pierce Family Foundation and has served on the University’s Board of Trustees for three decades.
“Our family is delighted to continue our multi-generational support of Marymount, which began with my father – Emerson Gerald Reinsch – who connected with Sister Majella Berg during her 33-year tenure as President of Marymount University. This continues through to my son, Gerald Emerson Pierce, named for his grandfather,” Reinsch said. “As the only university based in Arlington, Marymount is vital to the prosperity and quality of life of our community. As we have done with our companies for more than 80 years, we know we are contributing to the current and future welfare and opportunities for Arlington and its people with this gift.”
Members of the Reinsch Pierce family have ranked among Arlington’s most prominent citizens and major benefactors for decades. Previous donations to Marymount include a $1 million gift towards the construction of the Emerson G. Reinsch Library, named for Lola Reinsch’s father and the founder of Reinsch Companies. The Library was designed by well-known architect J. Almont Pierce, Reinsch’s husband. Their son, Gerald E. Pierce, is Chief Operating Officer of the family company and trustee of the family foundation.
“The pandemic reminded us all of the importance of coming together to converse, collaborate and connect with each other in person – hence the importance of this campus hub in Marymount’s future,” Pierce said. “My wife, Jennifer, is a mental health professional who works with students. She has seen firsthand the impact the pandemic has had on students and has impressed on me the importance of in-person connection for mental well-being. We’re pursuing a redesign of the building that emphasizes the sense of arrival and blends the surrounding architecture with contemporary design elements to create a welcoming hub in the center of campus.”
Pierce earned a degree in architecture from Georgia Tech and now works in real estate and property management, representing the third generation within Reinsch Companies. He and his sister, Brigette Pierce Rose, both attended Marymount’s preschool program as young children – an idea that has been revived through the University’s new Early Learning Academy that opens in Fall 2023.
A classroom and multipurpose building, Ireton Hall dates back to the original horse stables on the historic 1920 Arlington estate built by U.S. Rear Admiral Presley Marion Rixey. Rixey, who died in 1928, was the Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy and personal physician to Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.