Major A.B. Bates

Major Archie Bates was a particularly shrewd and adept administrator who came to Kemper in 1905 as an instructor from the commercial branches of Simpson Business College. His ability to see the “big picture” and grasp the understanding of the financial workings of Kemper saved the school from financial ruin during the Great Depression. It was his firm knowledge of sound business principles which put the school on solid financial footing for years.

Bates devised a system of remuneration for the key staff which assured them (and himself) of a share of the profits from operation of the school but only if it made a profit. Bates saw to it year after year that Kemper held a first-class credit rating. He was able to parlay a small boys school into a financial power house which projected wealth and success to the world from the center of Missouri.

It was Major Bates who suggested that Kemper issue stock, build during financial trouble to project strength, and maximized the potential of Kemper’s business ability. There is almost no doubt that if it were not for Major Bates Kemper would have closed earlier at one of several points in its history. The widow of Major Archie Bates was the only dissenting shareholder to vote against the school going public – not for profit on July 23rd 1956.