I’m very fortunate to work at a school where there is a living legend in our midst. If you ever watched American Bandstand, Romper Room, Captain Noah, Action News in Philadelphia or any local TV weathercast, your life has been touched by the genius of Lew Klein.
Not only is he a pioneer in television programming, he created NATPE, the National Association of Television Program Executives. Philadelphia’s Police Athletic League is Lew’s baby too.
And for 60 years Lew has been in the halls and classrooms of Temple’s Media and Communication school helping to launch thousands of careers.
And so Wednesday, it felt like something so true and so right happened. Finally, Temple’s School of Media and Communication was given a real name: The Klein College of Media and Communication. Through Lew’s generous donation and that of many of his influential friends, the school will start raising money for a Klein College building expansion fund.
Lots of wealthy folks give money to have a school in their name, right? But this is different.
It’s different because Lew has given his heart and soul, his time and energy inspiring, teaching and lifting up the students in the school. I have been in classes where he explained to our students how to pursue their careers with passion and tenacity. How to stand out at work. How to be successful and how to be a good person, a good citizen.
I’ve worked with lots of famous, talented people in my life and lots of big egos. Lew has none of that.
He doesn’t talk about what he did; he wants to know about YOU. What are you doing, what is your dream, how can he help. That’s why many are so surprised when they read his bio and find out how many careers, programs, community service organizations have been launched by this single human being.
At the naming ceremony, hosted by Bob Saget, one of Lew’s former students, the 89-year-old Lew rolled his walker up to the podium and told us that his relationship and love for his wife Janet was more important than anything else in his world.
That’s so Lew. A youth choir sang the theme song from Captain Noah and there was barely a dry eye in the house.
Afterward, I was in a class with 60 Temple students. We talked about all of Lew’s accomplishments, but students also talked about how Lew lives, lifting others up with him every day. There was a consensus among students, the world would be a better place if we all could try to “Live Like Lew”.
Amen to that.