Phil Klein's more than 40-year involvement with MICA began when his wife, Harriet (shown at left) was working towards her degree in painting here. The couple gave their first gift to MICA soon after her graduation. For many years, Phil and Harriet hosted at their home an annual luncheon for Israeli students visiting as part of a summer study program to paint from the great masters. After Harriet's death in 2001, Phil created the Philip E. Klein and Harriet J. Klein Foundation Scholarship Fund in her honor.
Mr. Klein is Founder and CEO of Klein Enterprises, a commercial real estate development firm specializing in neighborhood and community shopping centers. He received a degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore in 1938, and built his first shopping center in 1949. He has served as a trustee of the International Council of Shopping Centers; was president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors; and received an honorary doctorate from Technion Institute in Israel.
"Harriet and I were married in 1957, before she was a student at MICA, but she always had a yen for painting. She was really good, and she loved it. She had a little studio in the garage and was out there all the time. When you're an artist, it's like having a lover, and she went at it avidly. I had to remind her she was married to me, not the canvas, to get her to moderate her activity a little. I used to come down and pick her up after class, so I would go to the Mount Royal Tavern, and while I was waiting for my wife to get out of school, I'd play chess with Raoul Middleman. Raoul and a number of faculty and classmates of Harriet have been such close friends. Some, such as Norman and Juanita Carlberg, have been like part of the family. I've always believed in education, but I became involved with MICA through Harriet. I got to know the people and the institution, and because Harriet had such a deep involvement with the College, it naturally became part of our giving priorities. We started our first scholarships in the late 1960s, just after our fourth son was born. At the time, the College had just the one building, no other properties, so don't tell me about 'the good old days' - today is better."
"Over the years, I've watched its growth and the influence MICA has on culture and on the city, and I've been impressed with that. But the scholarship is more Harriet's legacy than mine. Harriet and I always thought, selfishly, that giving made us feel good, and that's why we did it. People will pat you on the back and say, how nice that you're doing this for the College - but we were always doing it for ourselves too. It makes us feel better, helping the world be better. That's the whole name of the game, as it should be."