By Mark Ellis
Engineering Professor William Klug, 39, killed at UCLA yesterday by a disgruntled former student was a strong Christian, an avid surfer, and Little League coach who leaves behind a wife and two young children.
In a feature for Westmont College’s magazine, Klug spoke about his faith and his career saying:
“Knowing there is a God responsible for the world makes a big difference in my motivation to understand it better. I developed a habit of relying on God for what I felt was beyond my ability to control or what I couldn’t do for myself.”
The tragic circumstances of his untimely death were certainly beyond his “ability to control,” carried out by a shooter identified as Mainak Sarkar, a former doctoral student who had accused Klug of stealing his computer code and giving it to someone else, the LAPD said June 2nd.
Sarkar, a resident of Minnesota, appears also to have killed a woman in a small town in that state and had a “kill list,” that she was on, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
Klug’s wife, Mary Elise Richter Klug, is also an engineer; she graduated from Westmont in 1997. A native of Cerritos, California, she is an accomplished, award-winning ceramics artist. The couple married in 1999.
They lived in El Segundo with their two kids where Klug coached his son’s Little League team, according to CBS Los Angeles. His son is in the fourth grade.
Writing in Westmont College’s magazine, Klug stated that attending a Christian college gave him an opportunity to build a more intellectual basis for his faith. “My young, naive, and parent-based beliefs went through a transformation.”
“I basically chucked everything I knew and began to think and reason carefully. Eventually I made my faith my
own. I ended up where I had started, but with a much deeper understanding.
“One result is that I have learned to be more open minded, but not in a relativistic way,” he adds. “I intend to keep reevaluating my faith and to maintain a list of reasons for what I believe. I refuse to be afraid to evaluate new evidence.”
His study of physics reminded Klug that the universe is a wondrous and beautiful place. “Knowing there is a God responsible for the world makes a big difference in my motivation to understand it better,” he noted.
Klug wrote that his reliance on God “helps me keep things in the right perspective.”
As a graduate student at Caltech, Klug conducted research on blunt head trauma and bacteriophage viruses.
Five years after Klug graduated from Westmont with a degree in engineering physics, he attained a tenure-track position in the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at UCLA.
Mary Klug majored in engineering physics at Westmont in 1997 and does independent consulting as an aeronautical software engineer.