Blended Giving Illustrates Couple's Devotion to DU Community
Ruth Klein (MA '55) and her late husband, Roy (BFA '52; MA '55), never had a conventional family. They chose instead to embrace a much larger one: the University of Denver community.
"Roy and I were both interested in education, being a teacher and a librarian. We knew there were enough children running around and chose not to raise a family. We turned to the University for our enjoyment," says Ruth, who, with Roy, spent her career in Denver Public Schools. "We wanted to help people with their education."
That decision has turned out to be extraordinarily fruitful for DU students, who have benefited from decades of support from the couple. Ruth most recently donated her Observatory Park home, a dwelling used by Roy as his art studio, to the University. The majority of the proceeds from the sale were used to create a scholarship for graduate students pursuing degrees in library and information sciences. Some of the funds will go to support the University art collections.
Ruth says her philanthropy was spurred by growing up during the Depression, a time when "there wasn't much generosity anywhere."
"You had what you lived with, and that was it," says Ruth, who also is including DU in her will. "I know there are a lot of people growing up who can't afford financially what they would like to do. We had the idea that we could help people get an education because we both know that's extremely important."
Earlier this year, Ruth was able to see firsthand how some of her gifts have affected the University community. She met with students who benefited from her library science scholarship gifts, and she also attended the Roy Klein Fair, which showcased her husband's paintings at DU's Myhren Gallery. Roy—who studied art under famed DU art instructor Vance Kirkland—was an avid painter; Ruth donated more than 1,000 of his pieces to the University in his memory.
There's no question, Ruth says, that the couple's own DU education was paramount to their successes. That education also helped the couple find their passions: his in painting, hers in books. That's why they chose to support scholarships for students in those fields, which are just as important as business or law, Ruth says.
"Both the arts and books are ways of relaxing," she says. "Our world gets pretty busy, and I think people don't realize how important it is to relax with a good book. There's so much to learn."
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