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Jack Kemp ’57

In honor of Veteran’s Day, this installment of Campus Celebrity highlights Jack Kemp ’57. He graduated from Occidental College, served four years in the US Army Reserves, had a career playing professional football, and went on to become the most important economic policy-maker of his generation under Ronald Reagan.

Recently, Oxy was named the most radical college in America by The Huffington Post. For a school famed more for its radical liberalism more than its D3 athletics, Jack Kemp is the shining anomaly – he played over ten years of professional football with teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, and Buffalo Bills. The NCAA’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award, is awarded to an NCAA-qualified varsity player who goes on to make the greatest contribution to society during his/her life. Kemp was awarded the honor in 1992, after three terms as a member of the House of Representatives.

He is also the most prominent conservative politician to have graduated from Oxy. After three terms serving as a Representative in the United States Congress, he was elected as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate, running alongside Bob Dole against Clinton and Gore in the 1996 election. Though he lost, his stances on policies left lasting impacts on American politics. Under President Reagan, the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut was passed, and Kemp is remembered for being a strong proponent of supply-side economics (the backbone of Reaganomics). He is remembered as the figurehead for fiscal conservatism in the 80s and 90s. 
 
Jack Kemp is one of Oxy’s most storied graduates, and the school recently named our first and oldest athletics facility after him. The area of Patterson Field and Bill Henry Track is now known as Jack Kemp Stadium. The stadium was so named to honor his memory, but also to reaffirm our school’s pride in welcoming and understanding all political ideology.
 
Jack Kemp passed away in 2009. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Image credit: Austin Bonner (flickr: a.bonner)

Madi Tsuji is a former Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Occidental. She is originally from Seattle, WA and now lives in New York City, where she works in PR. 
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