Ask Stephen Klein (Cowell ’72) what areas of UC Santa Cruz he chooses to support, and the short answer is–many. Klein, a regional administrator for the County of Los Angeles Public Library, gives to scholarships, Cowell College, the University Library, and The Lionel Cantú Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex Resource Center. “People who have a stake in UC Santa Cruz need to step up and make that concrete. One way to do that is to give your time and another way to do that is to give your money. I’m able to do both, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
Klein jokes that his philanthropy is “enlightened self-interest.” Through his experience as a longtime California resident and in his career, which involves administering and visiting 17 libraries, Klein is very aware of the increase in California’s population and the role of state institutions in helping all citizens. “The University of California is an engine for jobs and for amalgamating us as best as it can in this great age of diversity,” said Klein. “UC Santa Cruz is a state school, but the amount of money that comes from state appropriations is just a small fraction of the cost of running the place.”
When Klein was a first-year student, estimated total yearly expenses at UC Santa Cruz were $1,950. “I’m constantly amazed at the cost of higher education today,” said Klein, whose support for scholarships comes from his recognition that the increased cost of education also translates into a much higher percentage of family income consumed by college expenses and fees. “What fees and expenses mean to incomes today–do the math!” he exclaims. “You need a really big six-figure income to support college expenses.”
Klein remains close friends with many classmates and fellow Cowell College students, and he is not shy about asking others to support UC Santa Cruz. “Sometimes, it’s just about someone like me who has actually written a check calling up someone else and saying, ‘I’m doing this and I think you’d be interested,’ ” said Klein. Setting an example, and asking others to do the same, is just one more way Klein has found to support UC Santa Cruz.