Meet Your New Chairman
New Chairman Kenneth Klatt (E 70) gets down to business during a council meeting.
Chairman Klatt and his daughter Katie (E 09) toast to their family brick located on the patio of the Center for Teaching Freedom.
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 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 (E 09) also took part in ICPES, and his wife Kathleen, while not an alumna, has been attending TFAS events with Klatt dating all the way back to his time as a student in the program.
“One distinct memory that I have of my time at ICPES in 1970 was when my girlfriend, who is now my wife, came to visit me,” said Klatt. “We saw a documentary film about Woodstock at the Georgetown Theater. The theater no longer exists but I think the marquee is still standing.”
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.”
One of Klatt’s primary goals as council chairman is to increase alumni participation. “All of our alumni are coming from undergraduate institutions where they have their loyalties, so it’s tougher to engage them on a program level,” said Klatt. “I think that’s the challenge for us, and for TFAS as a whole, to keep those folks engaged.”
Klatt brings to the table several years of experience on the chapter level, having been active in the Atlanta alumni chapter. Judging from his experiences attending and hosting TFAS events, Klatt says he thinks alumni tend to enjoy seeing something they wouldn’t ordinarily get to see. Last year, he arranged a private tour of Delta Air Lines, which was well attended by alumni.
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.
10 Things to Know About Ken
1. You can probably recite every line to: Bridget Jones’s Diary
2. If you had a theme song, it would be: Leaving on a Jet Plane
3. The one food you can eat every day and not get sick of is: Pasta
4. A television show you never miss is: Mad Men
5. If you were a professional athlete, the sports team you would play for is: Chicago Cubs, no question
6. Your favorite Founding Father is: George Washington, he was called the indispensable man for good reason
7. The most influential person in your life so far is: My father, but my wife is a close second
8. The last book you couldn’t put down was: Witness by Whittaker Chambers
9. The most exotic place you’ve ever traveled to is: Maui, Hawaii
10. The one word you would use to describe the TFAS alumni network is: Evolving