Roy and Ruth have designated their gifts to scholarship funds for aspiring artists and librarians. "Working through the University," Roy says, "we feel like we can help more people."
Roy and Ruth Klein
Roy (BFA '52, MA '55) and Ruth (MA '55) Klein used their University of Denver educations to help others see the possibilities—he in oils and acrylics; she within the covers of books.
Artist/teacher Roy and librarian Ruth spent their careers in Denver Public Schools, where they noticed how students thrived in culturally enriched settings and languished in diminished environments. When they assessed their own happy condition—jobs they loved, the wherewithal to create, the resources for world travel—they realized they owed a lot to their educational experiences. Roy and Ruth considered their time with the Denver Public Schools as the golden age of the DPS, due to the extensive and varied course offerings in languages, fine arts, music and industrial arts that were available at that time.
Roy studied art at DU during what he considers an exciting period of creative exploration. Administered by the innovative and world-renowned painter Vance Kirkland, the University's art department was home to some of Colorado's pioneering modernists. As an added bonus, Roy recalls, many of his fellow students had served in the military during World War II and were launching their art careers at DU.
"A number of my colleagues were veterans, and I was just out of high school. I really learned a great deal from them," he recalls.
He decided to pursue a master's when it became clear to him, that to make a living, he would need to teach as well as paint. He also relished the chance to spend another year working closely with faculty mentors, who consistently invested their energies in student achievement. For a student whose high school teachers had pooh-poohed his college prospects, that was welcome faith.
Ruth, meanwhile, earned a master's degree from the University's librarianship program, which gave her the qualifications she needed to reign over the stacks at Denver's Horace Mann and Byers Junior High Schools. There, she introduced an ethnically and economically diverse population to the wealth buried in the card catalog.
Throughout her 31-year career with Denver Public Schools, Ruth's day-to-day work was inspired by her first encounter with a library. "I grew up in Ohio out in the country, and we didn't have a library in the school. I was acquainted with libraries when we got our first bookmobile," she remembers, noting that she's been reading and learning steadily ever since.
Roy and Ruth have been supporting the University of Denver generously for decades. "It started with our kids at school. We didn't have children of our own, but we always believed that education was so important," Roy explains.
Ruth agrees, remembering her own childhood circumstances and noting that scholarship offers can make the difference between a student pursuing or foregoing a college education. "There are a lot of people, me included, for whom going to college is a tremendous expense," she says.
That's why Roy and Ruth have designated bequests in their estate plans and DU life income gift to scholarship funds for aspiring artists and librarians. "Working through the University," Roy says, "we feel like we can help more people."