Special Proclamation for Bradley Student
May 2, 2022
Bradley University President Stephen Standifird welcomed to campus Peoria Mayor Rita Ali M.A. ‘92 and Second District Councilman Chuck Grayeb ‘72 M.A. ‘79 to present a special honor to Bradley student Matthew Klein.
Klein is a management and leadership major who has a passion for filmmaking. He turned his self-taught hobby as a filmmaker into a successful enterprise, with his videos garnering millions of views online. Klein’s film footage used for the popular HBO Max documentary series “The Murders at Starved Rock” brought the park’s scenery to vivid life. He has provided indoor and outdoor drone footage for Bradley and was also a part of the winning teams in Bradley's Social Impact Challenge in 2021 and the Big Idea Competition in 2022.
President Standifird said Klein represents precisely what the university is all about. “Matthew is really the benchmark of what we want to embrace at Bradley. We talk about having our students engage in a multitude of activities. We want to help our students find their passion and that is what he is doing. He is consistently evolving and turning his passion into a successful business. We at Bradley could not be more proud of Matthew and we are all excited to see what happens next.”
When Mayor Ali and Councilman Grayeb learned about Klein’s success and the story behind the evolution of his passion-turned successful business, they wanted to recognize his accomplishments with a proclamation from the City of Peoria.
Mayor Ali called Klein naturally talented, saying: “You are using technology in new ways, you are innovative and you are doing things that people haven’t done before. As a Bradley alumna, I am so proud of you. As the mayor of Peoria, and the fact that you are using our talents right here in our city, makes me even more proud to honor you today.”
Councilman Grayeb, also a Bradley alumnus, said he was turned on to Klein’s work when he watched the HBO documentary showcasing his video. “Your photography is so compelling. I have seen other samples of your work and I can see that you have a very bright future. I am heartened to hear that you decided to continue your education and will pursue your master's degree at Bradley and be a part of our community.”
Klein recounted how this started as a hobby five years ago. “When I first created my Facebook page it was basically just my friends and I going out to the local park and capturing whatever we could, and sharing it online. I had about 23 followers when we started and within a couple of days, it had garnered around 20,000 views. From there, it just continued to grow.”
Klein will graduate with a bachelor's degree from Bradley on May 14 and he plans to begin a master’s degree program in the fall. He has accepted a job at CL Enterprises in Peru, Illinois beginning this fall but promises to continue following his passion for filmmaking as well.