Tiger Woods, Keith Kleven and Mike Tyson pose for a group photo
A photo of D. Keith Kleven
Jan. 24, 2022

(Las Vegas, NV): Mary and Keith Kleven's rebel romance began when they were both working at UNLV. Mary was working as a recruitment coordinator, and Keith was a Physical Therapist (PT) and adjunct professor. A student with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) introduced these two, and several years later they met again at a fundraiser, which led to a four-year courtship and a happy 18-year marriage.
Mary and Keith devoted their time and energy to helping others. Keith served the Las Vegas community, including UNLV athletes, with his innovative approach to PT. His patient-first person-first mindset attracted many to seek his help; even high-profile athletes such as Mike Tyson, Greg Maddux, and Tiger Woods, with whom he developed a lasting friendship. As his career progressed, Mr. Kleven decided he also wanted to teach. He became an adjunct Physical Therapy professor at UNLV, mentoring and serving hundreds of PT students.
Mary describes Keith as a lifelong learner who devoted himself to the betterment of his patients and community. He was thoughtful, kind, and thorough, and he helped people who were thought to be untreatable. When asked to sum up what made him great, Mary said, "Keith had very high standards. Keith always urged people to follow their passion and do their best at all times." His favorite saying, which is also etched on his tombstone, is “winners never finish.”
Keith suffered from Alzheimer’s for ten years, before passing away on May 30, 2019. Mary cared for him at home until the end. Now, his legacy lives on through the Mary S. and D. Keith Kleven P.T., M.S. Endowed Scholarship at UNLV. Mary established the award with her own generous giving and also asked many of Keith’s family, friends, and patients to support the fund. Many gave generously, including Tiger Woods. The award will continue to grow with additional gifts, and Mary even plans to leave funds from her retirement account to the scholarship in her estate so that the scholarship will be part of their legacy together forever.
Each year, the scholarship is awarded to one physical therapy student and one student pursuing their Ph.D. in brain health. Mary hopes the scholarships will help deserving students achieve their goals with less debt. When asked what advice she has for someone on the fence about making a gift to UNLV, Mary's reply was simple. “Get off the fence, because how can it be a bad thing to donate to such worthwhile causes? Knowing you're going to make a difference in someone's life so they can pursue their passion feels really good.”  To donate to UNLV or the D. Keith Kleven Endowed Scholarship, go online to the School of Integrated Health Sciences giving page and follow the prompts.