KEMPER HALL OF FAME

Mr. Volney O. Hildreth III

Mr. Volney O. Hildreth III attended and graduated from Kemper Military School in 1948 General Joe Cleland was so confident in his skills and ability he named Hildreth a trusted advisor to him.

Hildreth foresaw the difficult financial picture which Kemper faced and proposed several corrective courses of action which could have altered history. Quiet, humble, thinking and deeply devoted to Kemper, Volney O Hildreth was a second generation Kemper Old Boy who so loved his boyhood home that he devoted countless hours to the organization and development of her last best hope – the Alumni.

Volney Hildreth can be considered the father of the modern Alumni Association and, in some respects Echo Company, Kemper Military School.

He graduated from Texas Tech, where he was the regimental commander of the ROTC unit. As a distinguished military graduate he was offered a regular commission in the army which he later resigned. After leaving the armed forces he entered the insurance business and was responsible for the formation of the United Nations Life Insurance Company. His father Volney O. Hildreth, Jr. was a 1921 graduate of Kemper where he and General Joseph P. Cleland, were classmates. At the request of General Cleland, Volney organized, on a national basis, the Old Boys Association and, in addition, became Director of Admissions. Working closely with General Cleland, they filled the school to near capacity, providing the income to improve and expand facilities. At the suggestion of General Cleland he explored the possibility of seeking a Master's Degree at Harvard; he enrolled there in 1960.

After leaving Harvard he became Vice President of the North Central Companies, as well as President of several subsidiary insurance companies. In the early 60's he was elected to the board of trustees of Kemper as its youngest member. When enrollment began to decline he felt serious measures need be taken to protect the student body, both current and past. As a result of his friendship with the controlling family of Missouri Military Academy he proposed the exploration of a merger between the two schools. Such a combination would have had one school for the lower grades and a separate school that would have provided a two-year prep school and junior college. Such an arrangement would have had the advantage of separating the youngest cadets from those of a college age as well as reducing administrative expense. This would have also given a receptacle for all records, etc. rather than closing the school. As a result of the disagreement over Kemper's likelihood of surviving on its own, Hildreth resigned from the board.

His oldest son Volney O. Hildreth IV attended both Kemper and Missouri Military Academy. Afterwards he became Sr. Vice President of The Londen Group as well as president of several of their subsidiaries from which he retired in 2000. He is now the Managing Director of The John Michael Wright Charitable Foundation which aids in health and education projects in the Caribbean.