The Lori Ann Reigert ’99 Gateway to Success, a new meeting place for Ohio State University students in Columbus, was recently created by the College of Education and Human Ecology in the Ohio State Physical Activity and Educational Services building to commemorate the memory of a woman from northeast Ohio.
Through an endowment fund created by Lori’s father, John, and her stepmother, Eileen of North Ridgeville, the space has been renovated with new paint, decor, and furniture. It also includes a plaque commemorating Lori’s love for her alma mater.
Lori died in 2016 at the age of 40. She was first diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2015, but was later found to be clear cell sarcoma.
At the time of her death, Lori lived and worked in the Willowick area.
John and Eileen began to think about what would be the best way to honor Lori, keeping their love for Ohio State in mind.
“She originally went to Lakeland Community College. She started a dance team there and got into a lot of things, and she decided to go to Ohio State,” said John. “She stayed in Columbus for the next 20 years. We thought she loved Columbus, she loved Ohio State and why not see what we can do with her legacy?”
Betsy McCabe, Senior Development Officer at the College of Education and Human Ecology, worked with the Reigerts to erect the memorial.
âWe came up with the idea that we could have an area where students would wait for their supervisor, and it’s also an area where many students would walk through a corridor,â said John. “It is also remembered for those who died of cancer because we know what people and families with cancer go through.”
McCabe said it was a great honor to help the Reigerts remember their daughter in a special way.
“The room is right outside the college-wide academic affairs office, so there is heavy traffic every day with students coming and going every day,” McCabe said. “We used to not have a comfortable waiting room where students could meet, work together and have fun, so this is going to be a really nice place for students to be together.”
The space will add to the community and allow for a better understanding and memory of those who came before others, McCabe said.
“I started working with John and Eileen because they also have a College of Education and Human Ecology scholarship in memory of their daughter,” said McCabe. “I already had a relationship with them and they mentioned that they were interested in a memorial on campus.”
When the Reigerts expressed interest in creating a space in honor of Lori, McCabe began looking for available places with heavy traffic, as well as spaces that could be improved. This led to the establishment of the Lori Ann Reigert Gateway to Success in the PAES building.
“I feel like I learned a lot about her,” said McCabe. “From everything you say she was a great woman.”
In 1999, Lori earned a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies with a minor in sociology from Ohio State. There she was also accepted as a member of the Phi Upsilon Omicron Honor Society.
During her professional career, Lori became a sales and marketing manager. She has advanced her career in sales, marketing and fashion by building relationships and recognizing her many professional contacts.
Her first job after college was in the Victoria’s Secret home office in Columbus as an assistant to the textile technologist. She was later promoted to production coordinator in purchasing.
“She was a very happy child and a happy young adult,” said John. “She always had a smile on her face and no mean bone in her body.
“I always say she was a Renaissance woman,” he added. “She was interested in everything. She climbed mountains, went to the Oregon rainforest, to Europe, even when she had to travel alone, she tried the racing cars in the west – the fancy racing cars. She loved painting, loved art, and had one Real estate license.
“She just loved everything and was very happy with life.”
Lori’s interest in art and cosplay took her to Hollywood, where she attended classes on making and painting latex costume masks for Halloween, her favorite vacation. She really enjoyed dressing up in elaborate costumes for Halloween and throwing fancy pumpkin carving parties for her friends’ children every year.
John and Eileen will go to campus next week to inspect the room, which should be ready by August school starts.
“Lori was extremely independent and the most loving and caring person we have ever known,” said John. “We hope that the monument will remind people and students and even professors that there are great people who can achieve great things.”