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University of Wyoming Foundation

Donor Stories

Supporting Wyoming Students


John L. Kemmerer, Jr.According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a college education almost doubles a person's future income. However, attending the university isn't an option for many students from small-town Wyoming-unless they receive a scholarship-and even then, they often have to work or take on substantial debt. That's one of the many things that makes the John L. Kemmerer, Jr. Scholarship so invaluable. It pays for everything a student needs-tuition, books, lodging, and food-for students from Kemmerer and Dubois and pays for tuition and fees for students from Cokeville. Therefore, the Kemmerer Scholarship maintains up to 12 students at the university at one time.

"It's the greatest opportunity ever," says Kim Cattelan, a junior in electrical engineering from Kemmerer whose younger brother John also receives a Kemmerer scholarship. "I couldn't be any luckier. I get paid to go to school, basically. It pays for books. I have an apartment, and it pays for that. It pays for my groceries. I haven't had to get any loans, which is really nice. I'm so happy with it."

"I couldn't afford to come to the university," says Luke Nieslanik, a freshman in agroecology from Cokeville who hopes to become a pilot. "I would have eventually attended a community college. This way, I could jump right into the university. I wouldn't have received an education if not for this scholarship."

The scholarship was established by the Kemmerer family in 1992 to benefit students from Kemmerer, Cokeville, and Dubois who are the best in their class and who demonstrate leadership both in and outside the classroom.

Jay Kemmerer"With our heritage within the state-a town named after us and our history-my father wanted to give back to the town of Kemmerer by establishing a scholarship," says Jay Kemmerer (John L., III), son of John L. Kemmerer, Jr. and chairman of Kemmerer Resources Corp. "He wanted to establish something of significance to the state."

The City of Kemmerer was named after Mahlon S. Kemmerer, John Jr.'s grandfather, and was established in 1897. Mahlon partnered with Patrick Quealy, a local entrepreneur, and established a coal mining operation in the area. The mining company was eventually sold in 1981 to Gulf Oil. The family's electrical power distribution company and the First National Bank of Kemmerer, which were in operation for over 40 years, were subsequently sold during the 1980s.

In 1992, the Kemmerer Family purchased the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort as a way to participate in Wyoming again. In 1997, they also invested in the CM Ranch, a historic guest ranch in Dubois where John's children Jay, Betty, and Connie stayed as kids.

John and then Jay led the family in philanthropy. In addition to the scholarship, the family established an endowment fund to benefit the City of Kemmerer following the sale of the mining business. Their family foundation has made subsequent contributions of $6.5 million to benefit the Jackson and Dubois areas.

"I think it's great what the Kemmerers are doing, and I hope they can continue helping future students," says Callie Finly, a freshman majoring in art from Dubois who receives the scholarship. "I know it's helped a lot of kids."

"We are pleased with our good fortune over the years and are honored to give back to the communities where we have been involved," says Jay. "Wyoming is a special place, and we are proud of our heritage within the state."

John L. Kemmerer, Jr. Scholarship Recipients




Top: John L. Kemmerer, Jr.

Middle: Jay Kemmerer

Bottom: John L. Kemmerer, Jr. Scholarship Recipients

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