Kenneth Klatt (E 70) has been with TFAS from the beginning. A student in the very first TFAS class in 1970, Klatt became a founding member of the Alumni Council when it was formed in 2003. This term Klatt will serve as chairman of the council, a role he is eager to hold.
TFAS is my primary focus in terms of philanthropic endeavors,” said Klatt.
Klatt first heard about the Engalitcheff Institute for Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES) from a small ad posted in a magazine called The New Guard (published by Young Americans for Freedom) that he received while a student at DePauw University in Indiana. “It appealed to me, so I applied for the program and was lucky enough to receive a small scholarship.”
As an ICPES student, Klatt says he most enjoyed his political systems class with then-professor George Carey and his internship with Rep. Michael Feighan (Ohio).
“They pulled in some good speakers – even then,” said Klatt; recounting a lecture he attended with renowned political columnist George Will, who at the time was working as a legislative assistant for Sen. Gordon Allott (Colo.). “I can’t believe he spoke to us in a classroom setting.”
For Klatt, TFAS is a family affair. His daughter Katie Klatt (ICPES 09) also took part in the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems (ICPES) in 2009, and his wife Kathleen, while not an alumna, has been attending TFAS events with Ken dating all the way back to his time as a student in the program.
The three Klatts are now memorialized together on a paving stone outside of the TFAS Center for Teaching Freedom. The inscribed brick was placed on the building’s walkway as a thank you to the family for donating to the alumni scholarship fund.
Today Klatt is an attorney for Delta Air Lines. While he did not wind up working in politics like many of his TFAS peers, Klatt says the program fortified his viewpoints and helped him prepare for his constitutional law class at Notre Dame Law School.
As Klatt begins the next leg of his TFAS journey as council chairman, he says he looks forward to working closely with TFAS staff members. “I really believe that the purpose of the council is to be a sounding board for staff and to come up with ideas at the grassroots level,” said Klatt.
Klatt is also optimistic about the group dynamic of the new council. “We have some veterans coming back and some rookies coming in. I think it’s going to be a good mix,” he said. “The alumni council is really a living organism that’s constantly evolving. Over the last couple of years we’ve had an injection of some younger alums, which I think has really energized it.”
Klatt says he would like to see more alumni chapters host engaging speakers and lectures in the future. “I know at the TFAS conferences I’ve really enjoyed a lot of the speakers, so if we could extend that at the chapter or local level, that might be well received,” he said.
Klatt looks forward to kicking off his term as chairman. As someone who has seen the Alumni Council develop through the years, he says he thinks it has a solid foundation and is ready for the next level.