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Deep and Abiding Commitment


Gil Kemp ’72

After serving on the College’s Board of Managers for the past nine years, Giles “Gil” Kemp ’72 will become its 13th chair in May. The appointment was announced at the Board’s quarterly meeting in late February. Kemp will succeed Barbara Mather ’65, who held the position for eight years.

Kemp—the founder and former president of Home Decorators Collection, one of the nation’s leading direct sellers of home furnishings and accessories—served as chair of the College’s Annual Fund for three years, is chair of the Board’s Development and Communications Committee, and former chair of the Strategic Planning Council, whose direction-setting document Strategic Directions will guide the College community’s planning during the coming decades.

Reflecting his commitment to students and honoring those who have influenced him, Kemp’s philanthropy includes the gift of a residence hall named for his grandfather, David Kemp; an endowed scholarship named for his father, Walter Kemp; the West House, home of the vice president for development and alumni relations, named for former Vice President Dan West and his wife Sidney; the men’s and women’s locker rooms, in honor of former cross-country coach Joe Stefanowicz, under whom Kemp trained and in 1970 broke the outdoor mile record in 4:15.5, which remains unbroken.

“Gil’s deep and abiding commitment to this institution makes him the ideal person to lead Swarthmore into the future,” said Board member and chair of its Governance Committee Jack Riggs ’64.

In her announcement to the campus community, President Rebecca Chopp recognized the retiring and incoming chairs, praising Mather as a “wise and careful” steward of the College and Kemp as a “skilled and creative” thinker. She added that she was “looking forward to working more closely with Gil in his new role, most immediately in implementing the recommendations outlined in our new strategic plan.”

“I am deeply honored to be selected as Swarthmore’s next Board chair,” Kemp says. “I know firsthand the value and impact Swarthmore education can have. It’s been extremely gratifying to support the College in the past, and I’m looking forward to deepening my involvement and further ensuring its success.”

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