Whitman Voices


Orange Family Legacy: Seven Kleins and Counting

Orange Family Legacy: Seven Kleins and Counting

Growing up, I bled orange. But my journey to and through The Hill didn’t start with my decision to attend Syracuse University, or even when I was brought home from the hospital in an Orange onesie. It began many years prior in 1968 when my uncle Dennis Klein ’72 decided that SU was the only school for him. It was the only college he applied to and he applied early decision. Uncle Dennis had so much fun as an accounting student and captain of the rifle team that my father, Scott ’79, decided he had to go there, too—and so much so that it was the only school he applied to and applied early decision, as well.

Two years after my father headed to SU, my mother decided to transfer there because of the university’s nationally respected education programs. They met during their senior year in February 1979, and the rest is history! If having two orange-bleeding parents and an uncle wasn’t enough to push me to SU, my oldest brother, David ’06, decided to attend Cuseland, as well. There, he would meet his now wife, Jacquie ’06, towards the end of their freshman year.

While it seems like everyone in my family went to Syracuse, that’s not entirely true. My middle brother, Jeff, decided to go to Ohio State University instead. While we don’t like to talk about that decision, Jeff will be marrying Cydney Schindel in November, which makes up for his decision because half of Cydney’s family attended Upstate Medical University, and they are all Syracuse fans! (Jeff, we still love you!)

I would describe my time as very unique. When my dad dropped me off at school, he told me to “find something I love and be the best I can be.” Prior to college, that thing had been football. Growing up in Texas, football was everything! But, due to an injury, I decided I would not pursue my dream of playing college football but rather find something else to love. My dad’s words echoed in my head for my first few days on campus as I eagerly looked for something that I could grab on to and work hard to become the best that I could be.

Out of pure coincidence, luck, randomness, whatever you may call it, I got asked to try out for the Syracuse University cheerleading team. At the time this seemed like a ridiculous idea; a 6’3”, 300-pound Jewish male Texan cheerleader? To make a long story short, I decided to try out, I made the team and had four of the most amazing years of my life. Not only did I get to fly across the country on private jets attending football games, go to Disney World four times and meet some my best friends I will have forever, BUT I GOT TO GO TO TWO FINAL FOURS!!! TWO! How many people get to say they did that? If you went to a home football or basketball game from the fall of 2012 through the spring of 2016, I was the guy with the big smile running the big S flag and screaming on the microphone in the WWE voice wearing Orange Nike glasses!

While cheerleading was a big part of my Syracuse experience, I also was a part of the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi (DSP). DSP was one of the parts of my life I really cherish. Moving from Texas to Upstate New York would have been a lot harder if it weren’t for my brothers of DSP, because I was always able to have friends to go to if I needed anything, and I knew that my brothers were always comfortable coming to me if they needed anything as well.

With my family’s SU graduates named, there is still one more member I haven’t mentioned, and I’m the most jealous of her, because she just started her freshman year and gets to experience four years of Cuse while I sit feeling old reminiscing of the glory days. My cousin, Alyssa Bethea ’20, is studying human developmental and family science and is having a blast at SU. Every picture I see or story I hear makes me want to come back, have a slice of Varsity pizza, dome stomp, go to Chucks, visit the quad and see my alma mater that much more. Also, my two-year-old niece, Lauren Caroline (David and Jacquie’s daughter), will be in the class of 2037 if all goes as planned!

The experiences I had at Syracuse were unique and amazing. While my time there was different than my uncle’s, my parents’, my brother’s, my sister-in-law’s and my cousin’s (in progress), we all had the times of our lives while attending Syracuse University and we continue to bleed Orange to this day!

Klein Family Alumni:

Dennis Klein ’72 (Uncle)

Scott Klein ’79 (Dad)

Debbie Klein ’79 (Mom)

David Klein ’06 (Brother)

Jacquie Klein ’06 (Sister in-Law)

Eric Klein ‘16

Alyssa Bethea ’20 (Cousin)

Lauren Caroline Klein ’37 (Two-year-old niece we hope will choose Cuse in 17 years!)


Eric Klein
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