Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg

Texas Tech ’69

Phi Delta Theta Foundation Trustee Emeritus awarded with Legion of Honor



The Legion of Honor Award was established in 1978 to recognize a member of Phi Delta Theta who has made a major contribution of his time, effort and energy to serve the Fraternity and improve its stature; has distinguished himself in representing the Fraternity’s principles of friendship, sound learning and rectitude; is widely recognized as a leader of fraternity men and identified with the promotion of fraternities; and has widely advanced and enlarged the opportunities for growth and leadership among college men through fraternities.

Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg was initiated into the Texas Epsilon Chapter of Phi Delta Theta on February 12, 1967. After graduating from Texas Tech, and spending two years in the Army, our recipient has spent his entire career at the world-famous King Ranch of South Texas. In 1998 he became a member of the King Ranch Board of Directors and continues to serve in that position today.

Brother Tio Kleberg is actively engaged in numerous business and civic affairs. He is vice chairman of the American Quarter Horse Association and is chairman of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Foundation. He is on the advisory board for the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Institute of Texas A&M University and is the managing partner of Kleberg, L. L. C. Tio is a founding member of the South Texas Celebrity Weekend that benefits the Spohn Kleberg Memorial Hospital. He was a founding member and is on the board of the South Texas Heritage Rodeo. He is vice chairman of the Texas A&M University – Kingsville Foundation and is a director of Texas Tech University’s Ex Student Association.

In 1999, the Texas State Legislature honored Brother Kleberg for a lifetime of business and civic service to the state of Texas. The Texas State Board of Education honored him as a Hero for Kids in 1999. Brother Kleberg was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame in 1997 and was named South Texan of the Year in the same year.

During 1994, Tio received Phi Delta Theta Fraternity’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Twice he has received Distinguished Alumni Awards from Texas Tech University. Texas A&M University – Kingsville presented Brother Kleberg its Presidential Award in 1984, and in 2009 presented him with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters.

Brother Kleberg served the Fraternity as a dedicated Phi Delta Theta Foundation Trustee for eight years during 2000 to 2008. Tio and his wife, Janell, have recently made Phi Delt history by giving $1 million in support of leadership programming for young Phis throughout North America. Their gift was part of the Building on the Bond campaign, in support of scholarship, leadership training, and chapter endowment funds. Tio and Janell’s gift directly supports the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute and provides resources for increased student attendance and enhanced programming. Tio and Janell have three children: sons Christopher, a Phi Delt from Maryland Gamma, and Jay, and daughter Adrian.

For his lifelong and continuing support of his career industry, his community and family, and Phi Delta Theta, it is with great pleasure and appreciation for Phi Delta Theta to honor Brother Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg with the Legion of Honor.

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