Campbellsville University English Professor Dies in Car Collision

By Joan C. McKinney, director of university communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Dr. Loretta Beth Kemper, associate professor of English at Campbellsville University, was killed in a two-car collision Saturday afternoon in Clinton County, Ky. She was 38.

Kemper, who taught at CU since 1995, was also director of the university’s Writing-Engagement-Learning (WEL) Program, an initiative that serves students by facilitating their academic success.

“Beth Kemper was a professor who loved teaching,” said Dr. Michael V. Carter, Campbellsville University president. “Beth was a lover of writing and wanted every student to succeed. She will be missed greatly by the Campbellsville University family.”

Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs, said Kemper was “an excellent English professor. She was well liked by students and faculty on campus.”

He said she was involved in many activities on campus. “Her interest and involvement in the WEL program caused others to want to participate. Many faculty are participating in the WEL program because of her leadership and hard work to make this program successful.”

Cheatham said, “Beth was a friendly individual with a contagious smile. She had a true love for teaching college students. Her positive attitude and strong leadership on campus will certainly be missed.”

She established and directed Campbellsville University’s first writing center and served as its director from 1999 until 2003. She also was the honors program director at CU in 2003 and 2004 and co-coordinator of the TEMP grant in conjunction with the CU School of Education.

Kemper received her doctorate in English with an emphasis in the 20th century British novel from the University of Kentucky in 2003. She graduated with a 4.0 grade point average.

Her dissertation was titled “Finding Her Place: Ivy Compton-Burnett as a Country-House Novelist.”

She earned her bachelor of arts in English and writing from Western Kentucky University in 1989 and completed a master of arts in English from WKU in 1991 with a 4.0 GPA. She was a graduate assistant at both WKU and the University of Kentucky.

She was the recipient of the Appalachian College Association Fellowship, the Sowder Award for Best Graduate Essay at the University of Kentucky and the Wanda Gatlin Essay Award from Western Kentucky University.

Kemper served as an editor of several publications including serving as a consultant for McGraw-Hill’s “College Writing: A Concise Handbook for Writers” and “Reading, Writing and the Study of Literature.”

She also published several articles and spoke at several conferences. Her poem “Salvage” was published in the 2004 winter issue of “Appalachian Heritage.”

She belonged to the Kentucky Philological Association, the National Conference of Teachers of English and the Conference on Christianity and Literature.

Kemper, who lived in Campbellsville, was the daughter of William M. and Llewellyn J. (Susie) Kemper of Logan County. She graduated from Logan County High School in 1985.

She is survived by her mother and father, William and Susie Vance Kemper of Russellville; one brother, William Kemper Jr. of Russellville; aunts and uncles, Loretta V. and Gary A. Buchanan of Montezuma, N.C., Martha V. and Franklin L. Tugman of Deep Gap, N.C., Judi and Dr. John T. Kemper of Lawrenceburg, Ky. and Barbara K. Ferguson of McKenzie, Tenn.

Services will be at 2 p.m. EDT Friday, July 28 in the Oakhurst Chapel of the Robertson County Funeral Home, 2201 Memorial Blvd., Springfield, Tenn. Visitation is at the funeral home from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 27 and from noon until time of the funeral Friday.

The Rev. Gene Gober and Dr. Lisa Brewer will officiate.

Burial will be in Lutons Church Cemetery near Springfield, Tenn.

Campbellsville University, founded in 1906, is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Campbellsville has an enrollment of 2,197 students who represent 100 Kentucky counties, 32 states and 28 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” 13 consecutive years as one of the leading Southern master’s colleges and universities, Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his eighth year as president.

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