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Egstad, H. M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 32, Number VII (April 1931)

Olson, Julius E.
Kemper K. Knapp,   p. 265

Page 265

April, 1931                                                           The
Wisconsin Alumni Magazine
A  Story of W      isconsin's Most Munificent               .
Contributor to       the" Student Loan       Funds          I
       emper K. Knapp
   As Told by Prof. Juliu         E~. Olson C-e               f   huh
                                                       and of will which
ii    NCLOSED is my check for $5,000.     I hope    illuminate and solve
       this contribution will be of real service to  the ever-recurring
    1  some of the young men and women who         novelties. His
       will make worthwhile use of their opportuni-  standing in the
ties."                                                 courts and among
  The above is an excerpt from a letter sent to Profes-  lawyers is the very
sor Julius E. Olson, chairman of the Committee on   best. Quite apart
Loans and Scholarships, on January 31, 1931, by Kem-  from the interest he
per K. Knapp, B.S. '79, LL.B. '82, Hon. LL.D. '30.  has evidenced   in  
It is not the custom of this magazine to eulogize an  the University, his
individual who is still in the prime of life, but the story  qualities and
accomplishments at the bar recommend
of this outstanding alumnus who is a leader in the legal  him for the high
recognition which you propose."
profession and an extremely devoted son of Wisconsin  On his personal and
Alma Mater side there are two
is such that it would be an injustice not only to him but  incidents described
by George Haight, '99, which will
to alumni as well not to relate it.                    serve better than
words of general description.
  Kemper K. Knapp entered the University in the        "At the first
meeting held in Chicago some years ago
autumn of 1875. His classmates say that he was a quiet  to initiate the collection
of funds for the Memorial
person but a profound thinker. Professor Olson tells  Union building, Walter
Kohler came. He explained the
of the old Athenean debates in which Robert M.      undertaking.  The proposal
was, of course, well re-
LaFollette, Sr., '79, H. C. Taylor, '78, and Knapp were  ceived. Several
alumni made short observations upon il.
the outstanding speakers. Unlike the dramatic "Old   I was presiding
and noticed that Kemper Knapp had
Bob" or the rapid-fire Taylor, Knapp was prone to   made no remarks.
I called upon him, expecting him to
wait until the others had spoken their bit and then he  make some very clear,
concise, business-like, and helpful
would give some well thought out and concise speech  suggestions. He did
this-but he did more. He made
which would knock the foundation from the others'.  one of the most soundly
sentimental speeches respecting
  It was this ability to read the deepest meaning of  the University of Wisconsin,
its grounds, its setting,
problems and to answer them in a clear and intelligent  its buildings, its
position, its spirit, and its meaning
manner that Knapp carried with him into the legal   that I have ever heard.
It was quite impromptu and
profession. A contemporary barrister in Chicago says  its spontaneity revealed
its genuineness (if that were
this about him in a letter recommending him for an   necessary). It was a
bit surprising to me in this-that
honorary degree last year:                                              while
I knew him well, I had perhaps
  "As to Mr. Knapp's professional                                  
    never before appreciated the depth
abilities and standing-no one could                                     of
his sentimental side.
have risen to the place of eminence                                     
 "The other little incident is the
which he occupies at this bar without                                   following:
When the campaign for
a mixture of many high qualities.                                       subscriptions
for the Memorial Union
He has always been a good citizen,                                      building
had been under way for a
high  minded  and   sincere.   His                                      time,
it became perfectly apparent
probity and loyalty are unassailable.                                   that
the Chicago alumni would have
He is, and long has been, a man of                                      to
subscribe more heavily than they
keen, sound judgment, highly ener-                                      had
been doing to meet the quota.
getic, and has put his best into his                                    Shrimski
and I were looking over a
work. He is a man of great reasoning                                    list
of dependables and decided to call
power and of excellent scholarship in                                   upon
them.    We went across the
the law and in other general fields.                                    street
to Kemper Knapp's office, and
I think he has realized what most                                       simply
said to him that each one of
lawyers who really deliver in their                                     the
old guard would have to double
work ultimately come to know-                                           his
subscription. He said, 'All right;
that there is probably no profession                                    how
much was mine?' He backs his
where any knowledge about anything                                      beliefs."
is so likely to be useful as in the                                     
 About ten years ago, Mr. Knapp,
practice of the law.  He has real     ..                                returning
to the campus for a com-
character-both morallv and intel-                                       mencement
program, was greatly
lectually-that is, he holds certain                                     impressed
with the great progress
            usabe ad usd fndamnta pri-     Si~dJULIUS OLSON             ipes~
usable and used fundamental pri-        Selid them away with a smnile   
   (Continued on page 302)
                         Page 265

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