John J. Rinker remembers fondly when Palm Beach Atlantic broke ground for the first home of the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. School of Business in 1990. “This stands out because all three sons were there with our father, shovels in hand, and participated in the ceremony,” he said. “The fact that it was tied together with PBA makes it special.”
Rinker’s father, namesake of the business school, founded the remarkably successful Rinker Materials company and became a key benefactor of Palm Beach Atlantic from its earliest days. Over the years, John Rinker and his wife, Sheila, have built upon Rinker Sr.’s legacy, contributing countless resources to PBA through the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation. Their most recent gift, the largest single donation in the University’s history, anchors the campaign to build a new home for the Rinker School of Business.
“We are excited to launch the development of PBA’s transformative campus master plan first with the new Rinker School of Business building,” said Timothy S. Sotos, chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees. “We are very grateful for the generous gifts from John and Sheila Rinker and other friends of the university.”
When John Rinker is asked about his family’s generosity to Palm Beach Atlantic, he responds with “the students, the students. It’s all about the students. PBA is generating students who have integrity, moral strength and the ability to live by such principles. They are investing themselves in our community, and we are the better for it.”
The investments John and Sheila Rinker previously made in PBA have given special attention to the areas of music, literature, arts and athletics.
Major capital projects they led have included the following:
Vera Lea Rinker Hall, which houses the College of the Arts, and which is named afterJohn Rinker’s mother.
The Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Athletic Campus, located on Parker Avenue in West Palm Beach, 1.8 miles from the main PBA campus. It opened in 2014.
The John & Sheila Rinker Sports Center, dedicated in 2017, giving the athletic campus locker rooms, training rooms, coaches’ offices and other rooms, with a total of 32,342 square feet of space.
“In addition to the incredible financial gifts John and Sheila have provided, they also have given us much in time and leadership,” said Dr. Debra A. Schwinn, PBA president. John Rinker served as a trustee from 1999 through 2007, and Sheila Rinker serves on the Women of Distinction Scholarship Luncheon committee. “They are visionaries and wonderfully dedicated supporters of the PBA motto: Enlightening Minds, Enriching Souls, Extending Hands.”