Posted March 31, 2017
School named for broadcasting pioneer
The Lew Klein College of Media and Communication, named in honor of a broadcast pioneer and his decades of teaching service to Temple, was formally dedicated in March.
In tribute to broadcasting pioneer Lew Klein, who has spent more than six decades teaching at Temple University and mentored hundreds of TV professionals throughout his career, the university’s School of Media and Communication has been renamed the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication.
The tribute honors Klein’s contributions to the field as both an educator and a broadcast executive and recognizes a historic, multimillion-dollar gift to the school from Klein and his wife, Janet. Their gift is supported by two additional seven-figure contributions from Temple Trustee Steve Charles, SMC ’80, and Trustee H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite.
“Lew is the rare benefactor whose service to our school extends beyond his generous financial support to include decades of teaching and mentoring, both of Temple students and of working professionals,” Klein College of Media and Communication Dean David Boardman said. “Naming the school to recognize all of his contributions is our honor.”
Klein began teaching TV courses at Temple University in 1952, while he also worked as an executive at WFIL-TV (now WPVI) in Philadelphia. In the ensuing 65 years, he helped launch the careers of hundreds of professionals, including NBC Today co-anchor Matt Lauer; CBS Evening News Executive Producer Steve Capus, SMC ’86; comedian Bob Saget, SMC ’78; and the late host and producer Dick Clark.
In addition to serving as executive producer of American Bandstand and producing legendary Philadelphia-area programs including Captain Noah and His Magical Ark, Klein played an instrumental role in launching Channel 6’s Action News format as program director of the station in 1970. He spent 15 years producing Philadelphia Phillies telecasts and lured former players Richie Ashburn, Bill White and Tim McCarver into sportscasting careers. At one point, Klein was also president of Gateway Communications, which owned four TV stations in the East.
Lew Klein has left an indelible imprint on the lives of countless Temple students who have gone on to build successful careers in media, communication and related fields. It’s only fitting that we recognize Lew in an equally indelible way."
-- Temple President Richard M. Englert
“Lew’s name has always been synonymous with professional excellence, and students of Klein College have a model to aspire to in their careers,” Gerry Lenfest said.
Throughout his momentous career, Klein continued to teach as a part-time adjunct professor at Temple.
“Over many decades, Lew Klein has left an indelible imprint on the lives of countless Temple students who have gone on to build successful careers in media, communication and related fields,” Temple President Richard M. Englert said. “It’s only fitting that we recognize Lew in an equally indelible way: through the naming of the Klein College of Media and Communication in honor of the legacy he has built in Philadelphia and across the nation.”
In 2000, Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest, Klein’s longtime friends and colleagues, established the Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Awards Ceremony fund. The proceeds both from that fund and the event itself support scholarships for students in Klein College.
“We are grateful for the philanthropic leadership of the Kleins, the Lenfests and Steve Charles, all great champions of Temple’s historic mission of providing access to an excellent education,” Board of Trustees Chair Patrick J. O’Connor said. “We are confident that Klein College will live up to the pioneering, innovative media professional for whom it is named.”
Charles, who recently endowed the Steve Charles Chair in Media, Cities and Solutions at the school, said he was proud to support Klein’s service to the school and Boardman’s leadership.
“I hope these gifts will inspire others to pay tribute to Lew and enable the school to achieve David Boardman's vision for the future of media and communication,” Charles said.
Klein said he is “so proud and thankful” to be honored in such a profound way by Temple, which previously named the Lew Klein Hall in the Temple Performing Arts Center for him.
“Thinking about the thousands of communications scholars who will graduate in future years, I am very optimistic about their success,” he said. “They will be coming from one of the finest and most prestigious schools in the nation. I have been blessed with other examples of appreciation and recognition at Temple, and this is the culmination of them all.”
A formal dedication ceremony took place March 29, 2017 as a part of events celebrating the school’s 50th anniversary.
—Shannon McLaughlin Rooney