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Byron Kline ’62:

“Keystone prepared me for the rest of my life.”

When Byron Kline arrived at Keystone College in 1960, he had no idea what to expect – either of Keystone or of himself.

By the time he graduated two years later, he was ready to face new challenges and seize new opportunities. That’s exactly what Byron has been doing virtually every day since he received his associate’s degree in business at what was then Keystone Junior College.

“I had never really traveled or spent much time away from home,” recalls the Harrisburg, Pa. native. “I didn’t know what college would be like or if I would be able to adjust to my new surroundings. My first few months on campus, I was kind of shy. I was reluctant to explore the things that were available to me.”

But as his college career progressed, Byron began to mature, not only as a student but as a person. He found himself looking up, enjoying his surroundings, and daring to be involved in campus activities.

Byron tried out for and made the Giants’ basketball team. He got involved, and eventually became president of the College Tribunal student organization. He obtained a job washing pots and pans in the student dining room and was eventually promoted to the position of student manger. He fondly remembers being honored when Keystone President Dr. Harry Miller asked Byron and his girlfriend, Rosemary DeGeronimo ’62 Sternbach, to babysit the Millers’ young children.

“Keystone met me where I was at and helped me grow and realize my potential. I was able to have the confidence to try new things.”   

Byron’s entrepreneurial spirit

In his sophomore year, Byron and roommate Jimmy Piccolo ’62 showed their entrepreneurial spirit when they purchased meals at a discount from a local restaurant and then sold them to students who couldn’t leave their dormitory rooms after curfew. They also purchased birthday cakes from a local baker and delivered them to dorm students, with the students’ parents paying for the service. In the classroom, Byron began to excel and gain a particular interest in the field of accounting. He enjoyed his class in public speaking and realized he was acquiring a skill that would help him in the years to come.

Byron’s entrepreneurial spirit

In his sophomore year, Byron and roommate Jimmy Piccolo ’62 showed their entrepreneurial spirit when they purchased meals at a discount from a local restaurant and then sold them to students who couldn’t leave their dormitory rooms after curfew. They also purchased birthday cakes from a local baker and delivered them to dorm students, with the students’ parents paying for the service. In the classroom, Byron began to excel and gain a particular interest in the field of accounting. He enjoyed his class in public speaking and realized he was acquiring a skill that would help him in the years to come.

Life after Keystone

After graduating from Keystone, Byron went on to obtain his bachelor’s degree in accounting from George Washington University. He has worked for accounting firms in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands and served as chief financial officer for a trucking company, in which he had a minority ownership stake. The company was eventually sold to a national trucking firm and Byron was able to use his entrepreneurial spirit to pursue several new business ventures.

He always loved working outdoors and, at the age of 54, obtained an associate degree in landscape management from the Institute of Applied Agriculture at the University of Maryland. In the years that followed, he pursued a successful career in landscaping before transitioning to professional gardening, serving as the head gardener at a private estate in the Washington, D.C. area.

These days, Byron and wife, Anne Klaus, have settled in to a comfortable life at their home in Lighthouse Point, Fla. Although retired, Byron stays active as a volunteer gardener at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, helps with fundraising at the Miami City Ballet, and volunteers as a community patrol officer (without a firearm) for the city of Lighthouse Point.

Byron also makes sure he keeps his ties to Keystone alive by contributing to the College as a member of the Evergreen Society. He’s returned to campus to relive some of his best college memories.

Learn more about the Evergreen Society.

“If I were to give advice to college students today, I would tell them take the risk of getting involved in whatever clubs and activities they enjoy. You never know what you’re capable of until you give yourself a chance. I got that opportunity at Keystone and it really made a big difference in my life.”

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