During his 34 years as a faculty member in the Department of Politics and Government, Gary Klass made an impact both on ISU’s campus and across the community.
With a doctorate from State University of New York at Binghamton, Klass was prepared to teach a variety of courses, including public policy, race and ethnicity, and quantitative research methods.
He contributed on campus as a member of the University’s Academic Senate, creating much controversy when he opposed the construction of the Redbird Arena. He was also a voice in his field as an author of journal articles and the book, Just Plain Data Analysis, which teaches practical statistical skills not often taught in statistics courses.
In addition, Klass co-edited the Political Science Research and Teaching List. He also serves as the associate editor of Social Science Computer Review.
Beyond his academic life, Klass played a significant role in the University’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. He has been involved with the ISU student volunteers since the campus chapter formed in the mid-1990s, serving as a faculty advisor and project director. ISU students have partnered with Illinois Wesleyan University to construct 25 houses in 24 years. The chapters have been recognized as the Habitat Collegiate Chapter of the Year in 2010, and are recipients of the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Partnership Award.
His dedication was recognized by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2005, when he received the Outstanding Service Award. Klass also received a Lifetime Achievement Habitat Hero Award last fall. The honor recognizes the many years that Klass has raised funds and worked at construction sites on weekends.
He continues to do both and remains a project director in his retirement, which began in 2015. He resides in Normal with his wife, Patricia, who is retired faculty from ISU’s College of Education. Beyond his priority to create positive relationships in the community and meet housing needs through Habitat, Klass spends much of his time trying to beat fellow politics and government faculty retiree, Bob Bradley, at golf.
Klass can be reached at gmklass@IllinoisState.edu.