Don Reiber, a man who left an indelible legacy on students at The University of Toledo for nearly 40 years, died unexpectedly at his Toledo home Sept. 20. He was 68.
Associate professor of communication and the director of media services in the Department of Communication, Reiber died hours after doing what he loved: teaching students while directing an ESPN broadcast of the Rockets’ volleyball match at Savage Arena, followed by the in-house production of UT’s double overtime football victory over Iowa State in the Glass Bowl.Responsible for overseeing the University’s television studio and production facilities, he taught classes in television production, live-truck production, and radio production and programming. His students and alumni number in the thousands, working in broadcasting in Toledo, throughout the United States, and for national news organizations like CNN.
One of the most decorated yet unassuming faculty members at the University, Reiber received the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2007. In his career, he also was honored with the Students First Award, which was presented by the University administration for his dedication to instruction and mentoring; the Difference Maker Award from the College of Business and Innovation; and the Rocket Award from the women’s basketball team for his commitment to that program.
Never feeling that he was worthy of recognition or motivated by monetary desires, Reiber’s greatest satisfaction came from the success of his students who could reach him at any time of the day or night via phone or text. Nothing pleased him more than to hear from alumni who would call and send cards, letters, or just drop by the office to thank him for the impact he had on their lives.
Born in Vermillion, Ohio, Nov. 5, 1946, Reiber joined the faculty at The University of Toledo in 1979 from WOSU-TV in Columbus after completing his bachelor’s degree in radio, television and speech communication in 1970 and his master’s degree in educational communications in 1972 at Ohio State University.
He met his wife, Pat (Giese), on a blind date when he was a student at Ohio State and she was a student at Capital University. They married in 1969 and have one son, Christopher, of Toledo.
Encouraged by his wife to consider retirement, Reiber said that he wanted to keep working until he could finish developing and assembling the University’s new television production truck.
In addition to Pat and Chris, Don is survived by his sisters, Pat Owen (Glenn) of Lorain and Sue Wilson (Jeff) of Brentwood, Tenn.; brother-in-law, Ray Giese (Rosanne) of Manorville, N.Y.; and his loving dog, Sammy. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ethel and George.
At Reiber’s request, there will be no visitation. A celebration of his life and legacy will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to The University of Toledo Foundation, where a student success scholarship in broadcast services will be established in his memory.