Graduation offers fresh connection to Roanoke

The Reichenbach family. Seated from left to right, Ned, Emily and John Reichenbach. Standing from left to right, Mimi, Lynn and Charlie Reichenbach.

The Reichenbach family. Seated from left to right, Ned, Emily and John Reichenbach. Standing from left to right, Mimi, Lynn and Charlie Reichenbach.

John and Lynn Reichenbach maintain their involvement with Roanoke College.

This article was featured in the Roanoke Magazine, Issue 2, 2013. The full issue can be seen here.


For Emily Reichenbach '13, Roanoke College was the perfect fit. For her parents, John and Lynn Reichenbach, it still is.

Growing up in Massachusetts, Emily - the second-oldest of the Reichenbachs' four children - learned about Roanoke from a friend. Though she'd been accepted at several other schools, it stood out from the rest. For Emily, Roanoke was the place.

Although Emily has graduated, the Reichenbachs have maintained their level of involvement with the school even after Emily's graduation. As former co-chairs of the Parent Leadership Council, the couple are now active participants in Roanoke Rising: The Campaign for Roanoke College, serving as New England co-chairs on the national Campaign Steering Committee.

"We're committed to supporting Roanoke College because we feel it was such a gift to Emily," says Lynn Reichenbach. "She grew as a person and found her strengths and weaknesses. When Emily left Roanoke, she felt she'd accomplished something. She developed skills and found out what the next stage of her life would be."

That next stage was Manhattan, where one of Emily's first professional forays after graduation was an unpaid internship at a leading American womenswear design firm that turned into a paid position after only her first day. "She's loving it because she's getting a lot of exposure to so many things," Lynn Reichenbach says.

Exposure to various real-world experiences is part of Roanoke College's appeal.

Through its "residential" experience, the Reichenbachs say, Roanoke provides opportunities for students to learn how to deal with others, how to form bonds and how to juggle time and commitments. Students have opportunities to interact with faculty and staff as well as members of the Salem community, which the couple feel is part of the College's many strengths.

As a cross-country athlete who played softball during the summer and worked at a local women's specialty clothing store during her years at Roanoke, Emily learned to balance the many demands on her time.

"The Roanoke College community is a small enough environment so that nearly everybody knows everybody else, yet it's large enough that there's a diversity of experience," John Reichenbach says. "I think Emily learned a lot at Roanoke that she would not have learned elsewhere. It's living in a community and adopting it as your own. That's something Roanoke provides that you can't get in lots of other ways."

Roanoke Rising provides opportunities for families like the Reichenbachs to stay connected with friends, alumni, teachers and other families who share a bond with the College.

"Roanoke Rising will strengthen and position the College for the future, increasing the opportunities for experiential learning and enhancing the College's already considerable charm," Lynn Reichenbach says. "The new Cregger Center at the core of the campus will strengthen the residential college experience, providing continuous opportunities for student and faculty interaction.  The new facilities and larger endowment underpin the college's existing strengths, and will make the student experience so much stronger. I wish I were going off to college!"

The Reichenbachs feel just as connected to Roanoke College now as they did when Emily was a student. They encourage others to follow suit.

"Roanoke College provides an environment that has high standards and yet provides support that enables students to rise to those high standards," John Reichenbach says.

As parents of a Roanoke graduate, they want to help others enjoy the same experience.

- Nan Johnson