Remembering Herbert Klein, Who Supported Rutgers in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Herbert C. Klein, an alumnus who donated more than $5 million to launch a transformative new center at Rutgers dedicated to bringing new ideas and approaches to understand and eradicate Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, died on November 24. He was 93.
The former U.S. congressman made the gift in memory of his wife, Jacqueline Krieger Klein, who died in 2017 after battling Alzheimer’s disease, which affects 6.5 million Americans and about 190,000 people over the age of 65 in New Jersey. The Herbert and Jacqueline Krieger Klein Alzheimer’s and Dementia Clinical Research and Treatment Center opened this fall at Rutgers.
“My wife was a wonderful woman whose life was cut down by this disease,” Klein said at the time the donation was announced.
“She suffered for nine years. Sadly, there was really nothing that could be done to treat her. I am very proud to associate her with Rutgers’ efforts to defeat this dreadful disease. The work by this center will have a tremendous effect in this fight,” said Klein, a longtime donor in supporting Rutgers’ leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and other devastating neurodegenerative conditions.
Born in Newark, Klein received a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers in 1951 and a law degree from Harvard in 1953 and served in the U.S. Air Force. He was a member of the state Assembly from 1972 to 1976 and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 1995.
Klein wrote the law that created the N.J. Economic Development Authority and was co-counsel on a bond issue for the N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority. In the House of Representatives, he co-authored the Interstate Branch Banking Law in addition to other major banking legislation.
Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy honored Klein in a statement issued Friday.
“From his service to our country in the U.S. Air Force to his tenure as Chairman of the Assembly Democratic Caucus to his time in Congress, Herb was a dedicated public servant,’’ they said.
In October, the Board of Governors appointed Michal Schnaider Beeri, a global leader in Alzheimer’s disease clinical research, director of the center as its Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research. Beeri came to Rutgers from the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY, where she was a professor in psychiatry, in cognitive aging, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Brian L. Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, said Klein leaves an important legacy through his dedication to advancing research into Alzheimer’s disease.
"Herb left an indelible mark on the world through his selfless acts of kindness,’’ Strom said.
“His generous donation to create the Alzheimer's and Dementia Clinical Research and Treatment Center at Rutgers stands as a testament to his dedication to improving the lives of others. Herb's philanthropy was not merely an act of charity, but will make a profound impact in the lives of those fighting against Alzheimer's and dementia, giving hope to their families through groundbreaking research and better treatment options," he said.
Klein was also a member of Rutgers’ Board of Trustees and an emeritus member of Rutgers University Foundation’s Board of Directors. He was named a Loyal Son of Rutgers in 2001. He and his wife supported many areas of Rutgers, including the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
Besides his generous contribution to create the center honoring his wife’s memory, Klein led the major donors of the Class of 1951 to contribute to a fund that supported the Visitor Center at Rutgers.
Klein’s family asks that gifts being made in his memory be directed to the Jacqueline Krieger Klein Endowed Director’s Chair in Neurodegeneration Research, which supports the Herbert and Jacqueline Krieger Klein Alzheimer's and Dementia Clinical Research and Treatment Center at Rutgers.