Al McCormick received the following anonymous letter from a Kemper Alum. The letter (also attached as a .pdf) was addressed to me, but its words are really for all of us:
Several years ago, I was fortunate to once again visit the Wentworth Campus to visit the son of a personal friend whom I had recruited to attend the school. It was my first visit since the Military Ball in 2003 when the son of a fellow Kemper classmate was enrolled at WMA. I have pictures of him arriving back from a Ranger Challenge FTX by helicopter to attend Mil Ball. Imagine that memory!
So many good things were in place and I was hopeful for Wentworth’s future, especially given Kemper’s fate. Although I am a Kemper graduate, as was my brother before me, he had attended summer camp at Wentworth in the early fifties. Your school was always held in high esteem even though we were clearly rival academies. So, it was with much sadness that I learned of the closing of your beloved school. I would like to convey my condolences, but also my encouragement as you endeavor to keep the school’s memory alive and legacy in place.
The WMA Alumni website is well-done, and I encourage you to pursue the museum as is one of your stated goals …. and avoiding the difficulties that have befallen the Kemper legacy which you aptly refer on your website. I have visited several “closed” academy’s museums over the years and most recently a relatively new project on the Castle Heights Military Academy’s former campus in Lebanon, Tennessee. They are renovating the old library and have developed a video presentation and display that should attract former cadets to return for a visit. A gift shop of sorts will be incorporated as well, I understand.
The CHMA Alumni Association hosts an annual Homecoming and it is well attended. One asset they have in place is that the city renovated the Old Main Admin building for the city hall and there is a CHMA display there as well.
I know that organizing a project like this will not be an easy undertaking. There is so much to consider after initially purchasing the memorabilia. Long term viability is certainly a concern and can only really be achieved through contributions or major gifts establishing an endowment…all of which you already are painfully aware.
Hopefully the Wentworth Old Boys will respond before it is too late, and you will be successful in all that you hope to achieve without the squabbling and infighting that developed between Kemper Alumni factions.
Here’s wishing you much success in 2018.