Saying goodbye to a generous supporter of MCC

R Crosby Kemper KCBJ photo1
The late R. Crosby Kemper, photographed with a replica of the Scout sculpture from Penn Valley Park. (photo credit: Kansas City Business Journal)

Metropolitan Community College joins others across Greater Kansas City in mourning the passing of philanthropist and business leader R. Crosby Kemper, Jr.

Mr. Kemper, who formerly led UMB Financial Corp., was a beloved supporter of a number of Kansas City causes and institutions, including MCC and the MCC Foundation.

In 2001, Mr. Kemper, an ardent supporter of the arts, gave a large gift to establish a center for visual arts and imaging technology at MCC-Penn Valley. The gift, $1.5 million from the E. Kemper Carter and Anna Curry Carter Community Memorial, was the largest single gift in MCC history. Additionally, Mr. Kemper provided another $250,000 through the R. Crosby Kemper Charitable Trust and Foundation to support development of the center, which would become formally named the Anna and Kemper Carter Center for Visual Arts and Imaging Technology.

CAC exterior with sign“Anna and E. Kemper left specific instructions that this money be spent on an arts facility and Mr. Kemper had been looking for just the right project,” recalls Jackie Snyder, then-president of MCC-Penn Valley, who led an advisory board that initiated the search for financial support of the project. “This one fit the requirements exactly, and he was so interested in the project that he and [his wife] Bebe gave an additional $250,000 out of their own funds.”

At the MCC Foundation’s 2001 Gratitude Gala, Mr. Kemper was honored for his contributions to advancing the cause of education in Kansas City. During the reception, MCC Foundation board member Gordon Wells announced Mr. Kemper’s generous pledge commitment, totaling $1.75 million. In his acceptance remarks, Mr. Kemper commended MCC’s contributions to Kansas City.

Metropolitan Community College, he said, “[is] one of the jewels in the Kansas City region. They are well-managed and run and do a terrific job providing educational opportunities in the community.”

Bernadette Torres, director of the Carter Art Center Gallery, recalls with fondness an afternoon visit with Mr. Kemper when he stopped by the gallery.

“I got to thank him in person for his generous support with building the Carter Art Center Gallery,” said Torres. “He was very kind to me that afternoon when he shared stories of Anna and Kemp Carter that I share everyday with visitors and my students.”

CAC exterior at nightOne room in the Carter Art Center Gallery is named Anna’s Room in honor of Anna Curry Carter, who was an educator. The room is devoted to women’s studies of the arts and bears a painting of Ms. Carter that was donated by Mr. Kemper.

Thanks to additional matching gifts and the support of the Carter Art Center advisory board, the Anna and Kemper Carter Center for Visual Arts and Imaging Technology opened its doors in 2003.

“Along with all the wonderful projects Mr. Kemper provided for the KC arts community, he made the Carter Art Center happen and brought the arts to thousands of MCC-Penn Valley students and community members,” said Snyder. 

MCC thanks you, Mr. Kemper, for your generous support of Metropolitan Community College, and for your support of people and organizations across Greater Kansas City. Your legacy will endure through the many individuals who have benefited from your generosity.