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Kenneth C. Kemp

by Susan J. Ainsworth
December 13, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 50

Kenneth C. Kemp, 85, an emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), died on Nov. 6 in Sparks, Nev., of complications due to kidney failure.

After growing up in Chicago, Kemp was drafted into the Navy during World War II. From 1944 until 1946, he served as a member of an expedition to the remote Aleutian island of Adak.

Under the GI Bill, Kemp earned a B.S. at Northwestern University in 1950 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1956.

Then, without ever having been to Reno, he accepted a faculty position in the chemistry department at UNR. Along with colleague John H. Nelson, Kemp coauthored the lab manual to accompany the widely used general chemistry textbook “Chemistry: The Central Science” by Theodore E. Brown and H. Eugene LeMay Jr.

When he retired in 1990, some of his former students established the Kenneth C. Kemp Scholarship Endowment Fund at UNR in his honor. Kemp was named Outstanding Teacher at the university in 1981.

He was an emeritus member of ACS, who joined in 1951, and was active within the society’s Sierra Nevada Section and on the national level.

He is survived by three nephews, Phil, Glenn, and Larry Kemp.


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