Year Inducted: 

James D. Kemp spent nearly 40 years teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Kentucky, many of whom today are well-recognized in their respective careers.

His career at UK began in 1952 and during that time he was instrumental in helping establish the food science program in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. He had a passion for intercollegiate meats judging and served as coach for several teams. He was a member of several honor societies and served as the faculty adviser to UK’s Block and Bridle Club.

Kemp was well-known for his research on country ham, and he spent many years judging hams at county and state fairs. He also helped initiate what is now a well-known event at the Kentucky State Fair – the annual grand champion ham auction. The sale proceeds go to various charities.

During his career, he served as president of the American Meat Science Association and was on the board of directors of the Council of Agricultural Science and Technology. He was named a fellow by the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Society of Animal Science.

He was a member and chair of the faculty senate and served four years as the faculty representative on the UK board of trustees in the mid-1980s. He is also the author of a book on the college’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

Kemp was born on Feb. 6, 1923, in Pickett. He went on to receive his undergraduate degree in 1948 and his master’s degree in 1949, both in agriculture at UK. He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois and spent a year in New Zealand as a Fulbright Scholar.

In addition to career work, Kemp was active in his church and community. He was a member of the Lions Club and was a board member of Central Kentucky Radio Eye, where he spent many hours reading to the blind. Kemp died on Feb. 17, 2015.