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Tennis as a Lifelong Passion; Jim Kurtz ’63
Jim Kurtz ’63 was just three years old when he swung his first tennis racket. Like fuzz on a tennis ball, he’s stuck to the game ever since.
His passion for tennis was nurtured on the clay court his grandfather built on the family homestead in Muhlenberg Township years before.
As a student at Muhlenberg Township High School, Kurtz was disappointed to learn that the school district had neither courts nor a team.
So in eighth grade, he set out to make some changes. First, he and his father convinced the athletic director to form a team, and offered the family’s court for practices.
The team still needed courts for competition, so Albright College served up an offer of its own. “They told us we could play our home matches on their courts,” Kurtz says.
The team didn’t need Albright’s courts for long, though, since Muhlenberg had built its own courts by the time Kurtz was in tenth grade.
But that didn’t end his connection to Albright.
After high school, Kurtz entered the College’s accounting program. “I wasn’t ready to move out of the area, and I was delighted to come to Albright,” he says, noting that he received a $250 academic scholarship at a time when tuition was around $1,000.
Kurtz also chose Albright for its affiliation with the United Methodist Church. “I loved the religion courses here and the fact that students had to go to chapel,” he says. “Religion has always been a big part of my life.”
The school’s small size meant that he’d get to play on the tennis team, which he did all four years. “We had some good teams,” Kurtz says. “We never won the championship, but we were competitive.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1963, Kurtz was hired as an audit accountant by Arthur Andersen & Co. in Philadelphia.
“Albright gave me a great foundation, a good education, and the opportunity to go with a big firm right after I graduated,” Kurtz says. “I don’t feel that I could have done any better.”
After a few years, Kurtz returned to Reading to work for Herr, Nicholas& Co. In 1986, he and three partners started the certified public accounting firm of Kurtz, Delewski, McNaney, Kulp. In 2001, his firm merged with Reinsel, Kuntz, Lesher L.L.P. Today he works part time as director and partner emeritus of the firm.
As satisfying as his career has been, Kurtz says, something even more precious and valuable grew out of his Albright experience: his 45 years of marriage to his wife Carol (Rudy) ‘64, whom he met on campus. “I’ve been fortunate in many respects,” he says, “but that was the best perk of all.” The Kurtzes have two children. Connie is a 1988 Albright grad who has traveled the world as an entertainer. James Jr., a Harvard Business School grad, is general manager of Reading Electric.
As a director of the Berks County Tennis Association, Kurtz helps promote the sport in Reading and Berks County through tennis camps and other events. “We had the Mid-Atlantic Boys’ Tournament at Albright last summer,” Kurtz says. “I’m delighted that the College is fostering tennis and supporting it at the local level.”
– Bob Shade