July Alumnus of the Month: Kurt Klein

PRGS student 2016 Kurt Klein

When did you play?


What position did you play?
All of them at one time or another.


What was your favorite memory as a member of the club?
In general, the best memories were the tours. Nothing was better than being crammed into small vans, and cheap hotels with your closest friends. In my years playing, we toured Trinidad & Tobago, Argentina, and Thailand. I planned most of the Argentina tour. These experiences inspired me to live abroad after I left college. The camaraderie I felt on this tours and the weekend trips to matches are what I miss most about rugby. On the pitch, in the spring of 2004, we played a night match against Michigan State. In my previous years, State always trounced us. However, this time we had a great group of ruggers and we had been training really hard. We played them under the lights at Elbel field in a really special setting. If I remember correctly, we squeaked by them in the B side match and squashed them in the A. It was the first time we beat them in a while.


Did you receive any special honors as a member of the club?
Not really. I was Man of the Match once or twice and I served as social chair for a few years. I was never known as a great player.


What are you doing now?
I’m a Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation–a think tank in Santa Monica, California–and a PhD Candidate in Policy Analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. I just passed my qualification exams and will begin my dissertation this coming year. Most of my work is about terrorism and non-state actors, nuclear security, and long term planning in the face of climate change. I’ll likely write my dissertation on one facet of one of these topics. I currently live in LA with my wife. We don’t have any kids yet; but we love watching fellow UMRFC alumni who have moved out to the west coast’s children grow like Craig Williams, Mike Lavalle, Mike Livanos, Brian Godlesky, Kevin Barlow, and Mike West. Leo Kim, Andrew Finn, Sultan Sharrief, and previously Wes Farrow, made Southern California a great place for former UMRFC ruggers to reside as well.


Any other interesting stories?
In the summer between my first and second years playing, I developed severe problems in my intestines and became ill. Consequently, I lost a lot of blood, weight, and had to stop playing rugby for 8 months. This was a really difficult time for me and I was quite depressed. During this period, I heavily relied on my rugby brothers for support. They were there for me for everything: from taking me to doctor’s appointments to lifting me emotionally. I owe everyone around the program at that time a great debt of gratitude. I’ve heard often that rugby is the world’s largest fraternity. It could be. But, it is certainly the closest.

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