Family, friends and colleagues came together to celebrate the life of James Rinehart at a memorial service held last Thursday.
Rinehart, who served as the dean of the college of arts and sciences and professor of international relations, passed away at the age of 64 on May 10 following an accident at his residence.
“We are here to pay tribute to a great man and a great leader,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said.
Hawkins said that Rinehart always wanted to be in the service of higher education even though that is not where he began.
“He really did demonstrate to all of us, his family and friends, to pursue your dreams,” Hawkins said.
Rinehart was an ROTC graduate and served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve, rising to the rank of captain. He also held the position of the chair of the political science department from 2001 to 2008, took over as associate dean of arts and sciences from 2008 to 2012, and continued on as dean from 2012.
“He could see the big picture,” said Earl Ingram, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “He had a big scope of thinking.”
Ingram acknowledged Rinehart’s contribution in helping set groundwork for the school of science and technology.
Ingram also announced that a scholarship in Rinehart’s name will be established and awarded to a student in the international relations graduate program.
Additionally, Hawkins presented to Rinehart’s family a resolution adopted by the Troy University board of trustees recognizing his contributions to the university and distinguishing him as an outstanding Trojan.
He also announced that the MSCX auditorium will be officially named the James F. Rinehart Auditorium.
Meredith Layton, administrative secretary of the college of arts and sciences, worked closely with Rinehart for seven years and spoke of the excitement with which Rinehart took upon his responsibilities.
“He was very motivated,” she said. “He was enthusiastic about new things, new developments in the college. He served the college with passion.”
Layton said that she would often have long conversations with Rinehart that would begin by talking about business and work but would end on a personal level with talk about her children and his grandchildren.
“He was my boss, but for the most part he was my friend,” she said.
Steven Taylor, chair of the department of political science, spoke of the impact Rinehart left as a colleague, scholar, friend and mentor.
“He cared about the faculty,” Taylor said. “He cared about the program. If a measure of a man is to be found in how he leaves the world behind, we have a very large measurement in James Rinehart. There is just no doubt about that.”