Center for Culture and Globalization established by donation

Funded by the estate of Oakland University graduate Barry M. Klein, a new center dedicated to culture and globalization will be established in fall 2022.

The Barry M. Klein Center for Culture and Globalization is one of several new programs funded by the late Klien’s estate. The center is intended to bring in distinguished professors from other institutions and allow them to teach and research at OU for an academic year. A new professor will come each year and spend the year teaching and researching around a single topic within culture and globalization.

“It will be a year long in-residence experience here where the person will study deeply, engage in conversations and presentations,” Kevin Corcoran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences said. “There will be our own students — both undergrad and grad — working with them.”

Students will be given the opportunity to be paid for the work they do, and faculty researching and teaching similar topics as the chair professor will have the opportunity to work with the professor.

While the center is intended to be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, Corcoran says the center will interact with multiple schools and colleges across the University. To demonstrate this, he imagined how a professor focusing on climate change would run the center.

“We could have people — whether they are outside scholars, whether they are faculty, whether they are students — engaging in thoughts about climate change from multiple perspectives,” Corcoran said. “You could have the scientific perspective, you could have the human perspective, you could have the economic perspective [or] you could have the cultural perspective. How is this going to affect how we work and live in Michigan — not just what our economy would look like, but how would we live differently if the Great Lakes rose substantially? You have got all of those possibilities and all of those conversations deeply happening over the course of a full year.”

The overall vision for the Klein Center is determined, but much regarding the center has yet to be figured out. A planning committee is working on how the center will operate and how students can be involved in it. The outstanding questions are expected to be answered by the estimated fall 2022 opening date. 

The full list of programs Klein’s donation supports includes the center, funding initiatives to support the center and a scholarship endowed fund to support students in the Honors College who need extra funding but do not qualify for other forms of financial aid. 

The Center for Culture and Globalization is not the only contribution Klein has given to OU. He helped establish the George R. and Helen Klein Memorial Scholarship fund — which is being expanded by this donation — for the School of Education and Human Services. 

Klein graduated from OU in 1964 with a sociology degree and was a lifelong supporter of the university and of the importance of a liberal arts degree. He moved to Naples, Florida in 2010 and was the CEO of a realty company there. He died on Jan. 18, 2020.