Marquette University mourns the loss of alumnus, friend and major benefactor, Bob Kemp

Oct. 5, 2020

Bob KempThe Marquette University community mourns the loss of one of its closest friends and most significant benefactors, Bob Kemp, who died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Sept. 25.

Kempt received a Bachelor of Finance degree from the College of Business Administration in 1954. He served on the Marquette Board of Trustees from 1993 until he was elected to emeritus status for life in 2004 in recognition of his service to Marquette.

Kemp was named “Distinguished Alumnus in Business Administration” in 1990 and “Alumnus of the Year” in 2007. His wife, Mary, is a member of the Women’s Council.

Bob and Mary started an endowed scholarship at an unprecedented level during a challenging time on campus, and subsequently built it into one of the largest funds for students in the university’s history. Thanks to their profound generosity, more than 200 Kemp Scholars have gained access to a Marquette education, and additional Kemp Scholars will continue to attend Marquette for generations to come.

“Bob embodied Marquette’s mission, and what I admired most about him was his unwavering commitment to humbly helping others,” President Michael R. Lovell said. “He never made it about himself. He was truly focused on supporting our students and taking Marquette to even greater heights. Bob and Mary are extraordinary servant leaders whose generosity truly transformed countless lives. The love and prayers of the Marquette community are with the Kemp family.”

Mary Ellen Stanek, National Campaign Co-Chair for Marquette, served with Bob Kemp for many years on the Board of Trustees.

“While Bob had a brilliant investment career, his greatest investment was in Marquette students,” Stanek said. “His engagement and generosity into their future has changed countless lives. Bob gave in so many ways to Marquette through his servant leadership on the board, his care and kindness for all stakeholders and his significant investment in our future — our students.”

In addition to providing significant scholarship funding, Bob and Mary Kemp have supported the future Marquette Business facility as well as the Commons Residence Hall and the Applied Investment Management fund.

While reflecting on Kemp’s legacy, Vice President for Advancement Tim McMahon talked about his impact on future generations. “Bob looked forward to coming to campus for our Annual Scholarship Celebration, when he and Mary had a chance to meet and learn about the current Kemp Scholars,” McMahon said. “Bob’s generous and selfless legacy lives on in our students who proudly carry out our mission in his name.”

A full obituary is available online.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or