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Phil Kleinheinz is the type of person who doesn’t give up easily. He left college in Ohio almost 30 years ago because he could no longer afford the tuition, but he never abandoned his dream of earning a college degree. Now, thanks to the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) program and the educational benefit that UVA provides its employees, he walked the Lawn and received his diploma.
“I always thought I would finish my coursework at some point, but I didn’t know how,” Kleinheinz says. “I needed a part-time program that met at night.” The BIS program was the opportunity for which he was looking.
Kleinheinz was motivated, however, by much more than the desire to complete unfinished business. He saw his studies as an opportunity to better himself and make life more comfortable for him and his wife. Currently a lead carpenter at the Medical Center with decades of experience, he cannot qualify as a project manager at UVA without a bachelor’s degree.
Accordingly, Kleinheinz pursued the BIS business concentration and had performed so well during his second stint in college that he had been elected to the Raven Society and inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society and the Golden Key International Honor Society. He also took the time to serve as the School representative on Student Council. “I’m here, so I might as well get as much out of the program as I can,” he says.
In the course of working on his degree, Kleinheinz had discovered that a college education is not an end in itself. The first class he took was an archaeology course, which ignited his interest in historic preservation. He later interned with conservator Mark Kutney of the University’s Historic Preservation program, helping compile an inventory of the decorative arts in the Pavilions on the Lawn. “If I could find a way to do it, I would get a master’s degree in the field,” he says.