Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 9:32 pm | Fair 46º

 
 
 
 

UCSB Alumni Couple, Donors Bridged Original and Current Campus

Lynn Paul Reitnouer played college basketball in the 1950s. He was a lithe, towering freshman from Monrovia starting a new chapter of his life at San Diego State. But he pined for his girlfriend, Winnie Coyne, who was studying at UC Santa Barbara College, as it was once called. It turns out she was pining for him, too.

Lynn and Winnie Reitnouer outside their eponymous auditorium, a 100-seat events venue inside UCSB's Intercollegiate Athletics Building. (George Foulsham photo)
Lynn and Winnie Reitnouer outside their eponymous auditorium, a 100-seat events venue inside UCSB’s Intercollegiate Athletics Building. (George Foulsham photo)

A motivated and enamored Winnie sought out Santa Barbara’s admissions director and basketball coach, convincing them to honor her boyfriend’s SDSU scholarship. Before long, Lynn and the girl he’d met a year earlier in a summer composition course at Monrovia-Arcadia-Duarte High School — “She liked my car,” he joked recently — were reunited at what was then the newest campus of the University of California.

The move paid off for everyone involved.

Lynn and Winnie Reitnouer eventually married; they’ll celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in June. UCSB got two devoted alumni who have made a habit of sharing their time and money with the university that launched their life together.

The most visible example of the couple’s generosity is Reitnouer Auditorium, a 100-seat events venue inside the Intercollegiate Athletics Building. The space came courtesy of a gift from Lynn and Winnie, whose Reitnouer Endowment Fund for Intercollegiate Athletics was established in 2000. For the last four years, the Reitnouers have also been benefactors of the Living Scholars program, annually supporting a student-athlete with financial needs.

“Intercollegiate activities are pretty important for the university and we like to be involved,” said Lynn, a trustee of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation since 1992. “My parents convinced us early that we had to give back. It was an automatic thing in our family. When we were able to do this, thanks to some very nice times in our business career, we’ve always given back … The university is very important to us.”

Lynn and Winnie Reitnouer wed in June 1953, in the midst of their college years. Winnie earned her degree in June 1954, the last year that Santa Barbara held commencement on its 14-acre Riviera campus. Their son John was born two months later. Lynn finished school in June 1955, participating in UCSB’s first-ever graduation ceremony at its then-new location, at a former Marine Corps base in Goleta. The festivities were held in an open field near what is now Davidson Library.

“I think the joy of Santa Barbara in those early days was the fact that it was small, but had extraordinarily good faculty, and good instruction,” recalled Winnie. “What does Santa Barbara mean to me today? Everything. We’re very loyal to it. It’s like coming home when we come up here. We love the area; this was our first married home. We love our roots here, we loved our education, and we love the start that it gave us.”

That start was social as much as academic — Lynn and Winnie were both proud participants in the Greek system. And they remain so today, as devoted and engaged alumni of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and her sorority, Pi Beta Phi.

Not long after Lynn’s graduation in 1955, the Reitnouers returned to Monrovia, where Winnie taught at a local elementary school. Lynn coached physical education and basketball in nearby Alhambra for five years, then packed up — Winnie and John in tow — for a new opportunity in Germany with the U.S. Army Dependents Education Group. They spent four years there.

All that teaching taught Lynn something, too: His professional passions lay elsewhere. The Reitnouers returned from Germany and Lynn tossed in the towel on the family business — his parents had been educators as well — to pursue the business of finance. He soon landed a job at LA-based brokerage firm Crowell, Weedon & Company, where he remains a partner today.

Lynn’s career has included stints as governor of the National Association of Securities Dealers in Washington, D.C., and as founding chairman of the NASDAQ stock market marketing committee. He spent 10 years as a city council member in the City of San Marino; for four of those years he was mayor. His two-decade tenure as a UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustee has seen him serve as treasurer, vice chair, and chair, as well as chair of the nominations committee and co-chair of the Campaign for UC Santa Barbara Steering Committee.

Winnie returned to teaching, mostly as a substitute, after the couple’s four-year foray abroad, and dived headlong into volunteerism. She’s been involved with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (now known as Learning Ally) for three decades, reading textbooks, and serving on both local and national boards. She has also been an active advocate for children’s theater.

To honor Winnie’s love of art, Lynn made a significant contribution in her name to UCSB’s art museum. Together they supported the capital campaign to build Mosher Alumni House.

Philanthropy is a long-held Reitnouer value. Lynn’s parents, who in the 1920s met and were married in the Belgian, Congo — where they both served as missionaries — taught him to give back whenever, and however, he was able. Winnie was raised the same way.

“The more invested you become with your resources and your time, the stronger your bind is with your university,” Winnie said of supporting UCSB. “It’s like a family. It’s your child after you leave it. You want to give back, to raise it correctly, to have an active part in helping to shape it however you can — through volunteer activities, through finances, however you can do it. I think it’s very important.”

Lynn Reitnouer concurred, giving high praise to the institution he described as “world-class.”

“This was a very small, 1,500-student campus when we graduated. It was a great spot to get a good education, and it had a good reputation,” he recalled. “But what we are involved in now is incredible. We’re still a very young university, and for what Santa Barbara has already accomplished and what it will accomplish in the future –– it’s just remarkable. Nobel Prize winners. The research activities are remarkable. And I think anybody that sits out on that point and looks out at the ocean will agree it’s one of the prettiest spots in the world.”

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.