Three Generations of Baruchians. From left: Brandon Klein (’16), Bernard Klein (’49), Sandy A. Klein (’79), and Zachary I. Klein (’10). Says Sandy, “We talk about Baruch a lot. It binds us all.” Photo by Elena Olivo.

[dropcap sid=”dropcap-1415139739″]W[/dropcap]hen Bernard Klein (’49) enrolled at Baruch College (then known as “City Downtown”) in 1946, he had no idea he was starting a family tradition.

The Klein patriarch, raised on the Lower East Side by working-class parents, had just returned from serving in WWII. “I chose Baruch because of its reputation,” says the nonagenarian, who adds, “With my accounting degree, I knew I would be able to get a suitable job.” Suitable, indeed. After seven decades as a highly successful CPA, Bernard retired in 2013 at the age of 89.

So when the time came for Bernard’s son Sandy, an aspiring accountant, to pick a college, dad did not hesitate to recommend Baruch. A class of ’79 alumnus, Sandy realizes that although he learned much about the practical aspects of the profession from his father, Baruch College added the technical expertise. Says the managing partner at New York City CPA firm Shanholt, Glassman, Klein, Kramer & Co., “My BBA years rounded out my overall knowledge and understanding of the profession.”

Though love of accountancy didn’t carry forward to the next generation of Klein males (Sandy’s daughter Jamie is a CPA but not a Baruch grad), a love of business endured: sons Zachary (’10) and Brandon (’16) both chose Baruch and a major in real estate. “Baruch was actually a logical choice on their part,” says this proud father, “and the proximity to city life made it an ideal college for them.”

Zachary testifies to the continued cachet of a Baruch degree. “I get a positive reaction every time I mention Baruch,” says the young alumnus, who works in acquisition at a midtown real estate company. Brandon, currently interning at a real estate development company in Soho, says what he likes most about Baruch is that “no student has an edge over another, everyone has the same starting point.”

Sandy’s commitment to Baruch goes well beyond encouraging his descendants to attend the family alma mater. He gives back as a member of the 17 Lex Society. “There are many students who don’t have the experience I had growing up, seeing firsthand the benefits and rewards of pursuing a college degree. I want to help create that bridge.”

—Diane Harrigan