Klau family gift elevates center to institute level

A generous gift from Rick and Molly Klau has elevated the Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights to institute level at the University of Notre Dame, placing it among other institutes within the Keough School of Global Affairs to serve students, foster scholarship and influence policy.

With its new status, the Klau Institute assumes greater responsibility for national and international engagement, as well as an increased capacity to educate and serve students. Recent initiatives, such as the International Race and Rights Lab, Building an Anti-Racist Vocabulary and a minor in civil and human rights, will be strengthened and supplemented as the institute draws upon resources made available by the Klau family’s gift.

Institute director Jennifer Mason McAward envisions the development of greater engagement with students, and with similar national and global institutions.

“We are deeply grateful to the Klau family for their commitment to civil and human rights education,” McAward said. “This gift enables the Klau Institute to develop stronger and more impactful connections with students, who are at the core of our mission. It also provides the foundation for building relationships with our peers, nationally and globally, to forge partnerships and help shape policy conversations.”

Founded at Notre Dame in 1973 by the late President Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., as a home for the study of civil rights, the center soon specialized in the education of human rights lawyers. The Klau family’s original gift in 2018 transformed the center into a vibrant hub for students from every discipline and at every level.

“Protecting, advancing and enforcing human rights and civil rights are central to the pursuit of justice for all people, to Catholic social teaching and to the mission of Notre Dame,” Scott Appleby, the Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School, said. “The Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights, which will educate countless generations of Notre Dame students and help train civil rights and human rights lawyers and advocates, is a gift to the University and to the world.

“I join my colleagues on the faculty and staff of the Keough School in expressing admiration for Rick and Molly Klau in their commitment to justice and to upholding human dignity, and gratitude for their generosity in making possible the rapid growth and ever greater impact of our work for the common good.”

The Klaus are members of the University’s Badin Guild. Rick is a former member of the Hesburgh Libraries Advisory Council and is a current member and chair of the Keough School of Global Affairs Advisory Council.

Rick is the retired chairman and former president of Hajoca Corp., the largest privately owned North American wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating and industrial supplies. His retail and distribution career includes prior leadership positions at WaterPro Supplies Corp., Ionpure Technologies and Millipore. Earlier in his career, he also held a number of marketing and sales assignments at General Electric and served two years in the United States Navy Reserve. Molly dedicates her time to volunteer and philanthropic opportunities targeting homelessness, hunger and education in the metro Denver area.

The Klaus each earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Maryland. Rick is also chair of the philanthropy committee at Arrupe Jesuit High School in Denver and serves on its board of trustees and finance committee.

More information about the Klau Institute’s academic programs and other initiatives can be found at klau.nd.edu.

Originally published at news.nd.edu on September 14, 2022.

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