BEREA, Ohio – Baldwin Wallace University and the Riemenschneider Family have been synonymous for six generations. For more than 121 years, separate members of the family has provided the University outstanding leadership, beautiful music and business expertise and gridiron excitement.
Junior defensive end Luke Riemenschneider is the latest member of the family to contribute his skills to BW.
The Riemenschneider family dates back to 1893 when Luke's great-great-great grandfather Carl Riemenschneider served as the President of German Wallace College from 1894 to 1908.
Carl's son, Albert Riemenschneider, was born on campus and graduated from German Wallace in 1899. He became the head of the music department and Director of the Conservatory of Music. He remained in that position through the merger of Baldwin University and German Wallace College in 1913 and until retiring in 1947. During his tenure, he established the nationally-renown Riemenschneider Bach Institute and BW's annual Bach Festival, the nation's oldest collegiate Bach Festival. BW also has one of the foremost collections of Bach manuscripts in the western hemisphere.
Albert's sons, Walter and Edwin, as well as Luke's grandfather, Walter '54, and brothers Thomas '57 and John '61 also have had a great influence on the University.
Walter became an attorney and partner and formed a law practice in Berea. Edwin '30 and John combined for 58 years of service to the BW Board of Trustees. Thomas served from 1996-2001 as a professor of business administration, director of graduate business programs, and was the founding director of the health care MBA program.
Luke's uncle, Christian "Chris" Riemenschneider '86 is a business leader in Cleveland and a former Division III All-American defensive end for the Jackets.
Luke's father, Dirk '88, is an attorney and Cleveland businessman and is a former Division III All-American offensive tackle at BW.
This fall, Luke, an All-OAC end last fall, will lead the Yellow Jacket defense and complete another brilliant career on the gridiron. The 6'4", 230-pounder has excelled on both the football and lacrosse fields in Berea and has hopes to join his father and uncle as a Division III All-American.
"My first goal is to lead BW to a winning season, an OAC title and the Division III national championship," said Luke. "That is BW tradition. Our goals are the same every year. It has been that way for many years. We believe in our tradition at BW. The individual goals all come after team success."
BW 13-year head coach John Snell '87 also knows about tradition, including football and the Riemenschneiders.
"I graduated with both Chris and Dirk," said Snell. "Both were outstanding individual team members and leaders who made their mark while at BW, continued our winning tradition. Both have been very successful after graduation. They were simply excellent leaders and players."
So, what does he think of the current Riemenschneider?
"Luke has been simply outstanding the past two seasons and we expect him to be a key contributor to our defense again this season," said Snell, who has a 77-45 career mark. "He is an outstanding football player and team leader."
Luke led all linemen last season with 63 tackles, including 11.5 stops for loss and 5.5 quarterback sacks. He will enter his senior campaign with 88 career stops, 14.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, an interception and one forced and one recovered fumble. The keys to his success are quickness, strength and leverage.
"Luke is extremely quick," said Defensive Coordinator Jim Meyer, who has coached a number of All-Americans, including former University of Akron All-American and Miami Dolphin Jason Taylor. "He gets around the big, slower tackles and dominates the smaller ones. Luke is an outstanding Division III player and certainly one of the best in the OAC."
In lacrosse, Luke played as a midfielder in the team's inaugural season. He led the team in goals scored with 24 and was second with 28 total points. He opted to not play last spring so he could concentrate on football.
In addition to Luke, his cousin, Maureen Schindler '16, also is a student at BW. The duo will carry forward the family name. The only question now is which Riemenschneider will be the first in the seventh generation!