Reverend Sam West

Reverend West was a Kemper Old Boy who was called upon at a critical point in the school’s history. He went on to the University of Wichita after attending Kemper and received a BA in 1938. He then became a pastor in Iola, Kansas, Atchison, Kansas, and Madison, Wisconsin. Few who knew him would deny his honor and integrity.

Upon the retirement of General Joe Cleland, West assumed the Presidency of Kemper as the school’s sixth executive since it was founded in 1844. He came to Kemper from the Kent School, where he had been Assistant Headmaster. In 1946 he was appointed as a fellow of the College of Preachers and later became one of the founders of the Associates Parishes. In 1957 he accepted the position of Chair of Theology at Kent School.

As President of Kemper, West saw what he determined to be a pivotal point in the school and attempted to transition the school away from its military heritage and tradition to more of a private school resembling the New England model. The effort failed and West, having expended much in personal effort and political capital, saw that he could no longer lead with the confidence of the school’s governing body. He resigned from office in 1962.

West saw difficulty in the years ahead for Kemper, and attempted to change the manner in which Kemper delivered education to youth. His ideas were too radical for the school and he was forced to resign from the presidency of Kemper.