Generation K

Among the commemorative bricks on Alumni Plaza on the Alumni Plaza—which is located just under the Alumni Arch on campus—is the Klocke brick, which lists the names of Dr. Ronald Klocke, his wife Linda, and their children Keith, Steve, Dave and Chris.

Yet this brick only scratches the surface of the Klocke family’s legacy at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Throughout the past 50 years, nine members of the family have attended the University.

Ronald A. Klocke came to the University in 1966 as an assistant professor of sociology. During his tenure, he also worked as a business management professor, MBA coordinator and Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies before retiring in 2002. He helped design the cornerstone for the Wigley Administration Building, ordering the stone and picking it up in his 1976 Chevette.

“It’s a great academic environment, and a great supportive environment,” he said. “With the amount of resources that Minnesota State Mankato receives, they do a good job in parceling it out, and they’re successful in the product that they produce.” Meanwhile, Ronald’s wife Linda earned her master’s degree in counseling in 1976. She worked at the University’s Counseling Center for 10 years.

The University has provided Maverick education and experiences to three generations of the Klocke family. From left to right: Steve Klocke, Linda Klocke, Chris Klocke, Dave Klocke, Ron Klocke and Keith Klocke

“I really enjoyed the program,” Linda Klocke said. “The faculty were so well qualified, and if you had a problem, they worked with you individually. It was very comfortable, but also very stimulating.”

The Klockes made use of many of the University’s resources, including the dental clinic and the Otto Recreation Center, and brought their four sons to games and theatre events.

“All four of our kids had a sense of community and connection with Mankato, but particularly with the University,” Linda Klocke said.

Keith Klocke was the first to attend, earning a degree in business in 1988 and returning for an engineering degree in 1997.

Brittany Klocke, 2019 graduate.

“I was definitely happy with the education I received,” he said. “There was a 5-to-1 student-teacher ratio [in engineering] so I could get all my questions answered right away. We could have more one-on-one discussions than some of the larger schools. The professors seemed like they were genuinely concerned about our education, to the point where they’d take extra time out of their day, even staying late to meet and help us understand a subject.”

Keith’s younger brother Steve followed shortly after, studying management and graduating in 1989. Steve Klocke started his own business, IT Wholesaler, which has 110 employees between two locations. About a third of his current sales team graduated from Minnesota State Mankato.

“The professors gave us insight from the market, from the real world,” Steve said. “My classes really gave me a nice groundwork for success at business.”

Twin brothers Dave and Chris Klocke rounded out the sibling experience, both graduating with double majors in management and marketing in 1992.

The next generation of Klockes have begun their own Minnesota State Mankato experience. Mary Klocke (Steve’s daughter) attended the University for two years before transferring to pursue a degree in veterinary science, while her sister Brittany Klocke graduated in December 2019 with a degree in finance.

Kyle Klocke, graduating in fall.

Meanwhile, Kyle Klocke (Chris’s son) plans to graduate this year with a degree in mass communications. While every member of the Klocke family has had a different experience at the University, they all share a love for Minnesota State Mankato and a pride in such an enduring family legacy.

“We might need to get another brick,” Steve Klocke added, “since I don’t think all the names can fit on the original one.”