James S. Kemper, Sr., founder and president of the Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company (and its affiliated companies) established The James S. Kemper Foundation in 1942.

In 1947, the Foundation offered its first scholarship program by sponsoring research fellowships at the medical schools of Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh in the fields of Industrial Medicine and Surgery.

The following year, the Foundation launched the Kemper Scholars Program to encourage young adults to explore careers in the insurance industry. It was a pioneering program that invested in the potential of promising students from quality universities and exposed them to an industry they may not have previously considered.

The Kemper Scholars Program focused on providing promising students an opportunity to develop well-rounded business skills while learning more about careers in the insurance industry. From inception, the program included scholarships and summer professional internships at the Kemper family of companies for undergraduate students.

By the mid-1950s, the Scholars Program included male and female students from across the United States. Participants often met with senior staff members of the Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company who underscored the broad range of interesting careers in the insurance industry.

 

“The Kemper Scholars Program provides students the immeasurable advantage of learning something about themselves and the work habits and ethics needed to succeed in the workplace before they embark on their careers.”

 

David B. Mathis Kemper Scholar and former Chair and CEO of Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company and former Chairman of The James S. Kemper Foundation


The Kemper Scholars Program proved to be an excellent training ground for future Lumbermens employees, including David B. Mathis who was a Kemper Scholar from 1956 to 1960 while attending Lake Forest College. After graduation, Mathis started his career at Lumbermens as a field agent based in San Francisco eventually taking over as sales manager in 1969. He later opened offices in Europe and ascended to president of Lumbermens’ international operations. After a stint as executive vice president of Lumbermens, he took on the chief executive officer position.

The Kemper Scholars Program proved to be an excellent training ground for future Lumbermens employees, including David B. Mathis who was a Kemper Scholar from 1956 to 1960 while attending Lake Forest College. After graduation, Mathis started his career at Lumbermens as a field agent based in San Francisco eventually taking over as sales manager in 1969. He later opened offices in Europe and ascended to president of Lumbermens’ international operations. After a stint as executive vice president of Lumbermens, he took on the chief executive officer position.

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