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Profiles in Giving

BLAST of Conviction

Zak Kline, A13, is lucky. Not only are both of his parents college graduates who prepared him well for higher education, but his dad went to Tufts. Some of Zak’s peers aren’t so fortunate: Many were the first in their families to head to college or came to Tufts from under-resourced high schools, or both.

Generations of hope—and hard-earned savings—were pinned on them.

But often that isn’t enough. Enter Zak’s parents, Douglas Kline, E84, A13P, and Susan Kline, A13P, and the Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts (BLAST) program.

Inspired by Doug’s own Tufts financial aid package and the Jumbo memories the family has made together, the Klines generously endowed the Kline Family Scholarship. Because they made the gift through the Tufts Financial Aid Initiative, it was matched dollar for dollar, doubling the impact it will have on the university—and on talented students.

Smoothing the transition

The scholarship will support a participant in the BLAST program, which is designed to support students from underserved communities who need a little extra help transitioning from high school to college.

BLAST includes a free six-week residential program during the summer before freshman year. Participants take two classes for credit (math and history) and attend a series of workshops to learn about Tufts resources and leadership opportunities. Social activities and field trips provide an introduction to college life and Boston.

Throughout their Tufts undergraduate education, BLAST participants are offered a range of support, including academic advising, peer mentors, an education enrichment fund, leadership development, and resources to support study abroad.

“I’ve met outstanding students who went through BLAST,” says Doug. “They needed a hand. It’s great for the university to have these students here.” Susan adds that enabling young people to come to the university is one of their goals.

“All of our students receive financial aid, which is only possible through generous donations given by the Klines and others,” says Robert Mack, director of BLAST and associate dean of undergraduate education.

Why Tufts

Doug adds, “There is a wide variety of choice when it comes to charitable giving. We give to Tufts because of the personal connection and the relationship that builds over the years with someone we trust. Because of our conviction that we can make an impact, we gladly give.”

Though Zak graduated this past May, that didn’t stop the Klines from coming back to the Hill this fall to tailgate with fellow Jumbo football parents at Parents and Family Weekend. Says Susan, “We’ve always loved it here.”