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NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Black-and-white photos of Emerson Kampen, and color prints of an architectural rendering of the new golf course and of Clark Throssell and Zac Reicher examining a grass plug pulled from a putting green are available from Purdue News Service, (765) 494-2096. Ask for the photos called Kampen, Golf Rendering and Golf Course/Throssell.

September 20, 1996

Former trustee's family gives major gift to Purdue golf course

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The family of the man who built Great Lakes Chemical Corp. into a Fortune 500 firm has contributed a major gift toward the funding of a novel Purdue University golf course renovation project that blends academics and athletics.

The gift is from the family of the late Emerson Kampen, including his wife, Barbara Kampen, and the couple's seven children and their families. The family requested that the amount of the gift not be disclosed.

Kampen was chairman of Great Lakes Chemical when he died in June 1995. He was a member of Purdue's Board of Trustees from 1990 until his death.

Purdue has $6 million in cash pledged for the $6.5 million project. Legendary golf course designer Pete Dye is overseeing an upgrade of Purdue's 36-hole golf complex. The completed project will include the first comprehensive turfgrass research and diagnostic facility in the nation.

The project also includes an enhanced practice range; a new clubhouse, cart storage and shelter facilities; and an 18-hole contoured putting course, a first in Indiana.

"Emerson always was for education first," said Barbara Kampen. "He enjoyed golf and was a fan of all the Purdue sports. I know he would be very honored that this project will be one of his memorials.

"The golf course project also seemed a natural for the family to give to, because Emerson liked to conduct business and interview potential employees while playing golf. It gave him a great deal of insight into people, watching the way they played the game."

Daughter Cynthia Kampen Van Zelst said: "The unique thing that interested our family about the project is this is an opportunity to create a state-of-the-art facility that incorporates a sport our dad loved. The family is very excited to be part of it."

Purdue President Steven C. Beering said: "The Kampen family's gift will help build an outstanding golf complex and a unique facility for teaching and research. I am proud to have been a friend of Emerson Kampen's, and Purdue is grateful for the service he provided as a trustee and for the generosity his family is extending to the university through this memorial."

Dye, who lives in Carmel, is contributing his design and consulting services to do a complete redesign of the 18-hole North Course, and to make improvements to other components of the golf complex, including the 18-hole South Course.

"The Purdue project offers a chance to put the knowledge of the university to work on the golf course," said Dye, who has designed more than 60 courses worldwide and is known for designing courses that are sensitive to the environment. "We have a chance to make this the most environmentally sensitive golf course in the world."

Dye and the Kampens first met while on holiday in the Dominican Republic. "Emerson talked with Mr. Dye, and thought a lot of him," Barbara said. "Pete Dye's involvement with the project is another reason why the family wanted to make the donation. Plus, two of our sons-in-law -- Dave Van Zelst and Steve Smith -- graduated from Purdue in landscape architecture and turf management, respectively."

As part of the overall golf course project, the Turfgrass Research and Diagnostic Center will be a living laboratory where faculty, students and staff can develop and observe various turf management systems, said Clark Throssell, professor of agronomy. He and Zac Reicher, turf specialist with Purdue's Cooperative Extension Service, are co-directors of the center. The center's outdoor plots will allow researchers to investigate ways to correct turf problems, conduct research on the effect of golf courses on the environment, and look for ways to apply environmentally friendly agronomic techniques such as biological pest control to lawns and turf.

"Students will be able to see firsthand a wide range of problems encountered when maintaining turf and see what weeds, insects and various plant diseases look like in a field setting," Throssell said. "This will greatly increase their comprehension of what we are teaching."

A groundbreaking ceremony for the North Course reconstruction will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, on the course. Among those attending will be Beering; Morgan Burke, director of intercollegiate athletics; members of the Kampen family; and Michael and Kay Birck of Hinsdale, Ill. The Bircks and Jim and Lois Ackerman of Indianapolis also have given significantly to the golf course project.

Construction of the turfgrass research facility is expected to be completed by the time the new golf course opens in 1998.

In addition to Barbara Kampen, Cynthia Kampen Van Zelst and her husband, David, other members of the Kampen family are: Douglas and Jan Kampen; Joanie (Kampen) and Craig Dunham; Laura (Kampen) and Jeff Shiver; Deborah (Kampen) and Steve Smith; Pamela (Kampen) and Dan Mayes; and Debi Kampen, wife of the late Emerson Kampen II.

Joanie Dunham, Cindy and David Van Zelst, and Deborah and Steve Smith are Purdue graduates.

Emerson Kampen had a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. He joined Great Lakes as a chemical engineer in 1951 and held a series of marketing and manufacturing positions. He was named vice president of marketing in 1962 and vice president of manufacturing in 1968. He was named president in 1972 and chief executive officer in 1977 and was elected chairman of the board in 1988.

During his career Kampen held numerous directorships in Great Lakes' subsidiaries and affiliates, both in the United States and abroad, and also was on the boards of Huntsman Chemical Corp., Inland Steel Industries, CINergy Inc., the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chemical Manufacturers Association. Gov. Evan Bayh appointed him vice chairman of the board of the Hoosier Alliance Against Drugs, and Gov. Robert S. Orr named him a Sagamore of the Wabash, one of the state's highest honors, for leadership and contributions to Indiana education and business.

He received an honorary doctorate in management from Purdue, and he received the College of Engineering Alumni Society Medal from the University of Michigan. An honorary fellow of the American Institute of Chemists, Kampen also received the Wall Street Transcript's Gold Medal Award an unprecedented seven times for being the most outstanding chief executive in the specialty chemical industry. He received the chemical industry's highest awards -- the Kavaler Award for chief executive excellence and the Winthrop Sears Medal from the Chemists' Club. In addition, he was named Industrialist of the Year by Indiana Business Magazine, and Man of the Year by the Huntington's Disease Society of America.

Great Lakes, established in 1933, is the world's leading maker of certain specialty chemicals such as flame retardants, polymer stabilizers, fire extinguishants, water treatment and petroleum additives.


Sources: Barbara Kampen, (765) 463-9627

Cynthia and Dave Van Zelst, (847) 623-3580

Steven Beering, (765) 494-9708; home, (765) 743-9933

Writer: Ellen Rantz, (765) 494-2073; home, (765) 497-0345; Internet,

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