Busy with his family and his career, Steve Kampsen ’78 didn’t take time to get involved at Westmont. Then his son, Chris ’01, became a student at the college, and Steve started coming to campus for more than just Homecoming.
“When your first-born wants to attend your alma mater, it awakens a lot of memories,” he says. “Seeing him do well at Westmont pulled me back in.
“It was obvious that God wanted Chris at Westmont,” he adds. “My heart grew for the college and its mission. Then my daughter, Stefani, decided to come to Westmont as well. So when Mary Given asked me to participate on the alumni board, I agreed.”
Steve served as a chapter leader for two years and became president of the Alumni Association in 2001. “There’s a big need for alumni to reconnect and to increase their giving,” he says. “It’s been exciting to see the tremendous improvement in the alumni giving rate. The alumni office does such an outstanding job.”
A primary purpose of the alumni board, comprised mostly of chapter leaders, is overseeing alumni events throughout the country. “The board has never taken an active role in fund raising,” Steve notes. “But at chapter events we have started to speak out about our obligation to give back to the college because future students depend on us. I couldn’t have come to Westmont without aid as my family didn’t have the means to send me here. I want to help students with the same financial need.”
As alumni president, Steve belongs to the board of trustees. “The college is blessed with board members who are unbelievably dedicated to the college,” Steve says. “They’re amazing Christians with deep commitments. I have learned so much being around people with such great experience in business and Christian service.”
Steve transferred to Westmont as a junior to play baseball, and he married his wife, Susan, at the end of that year. Being a transfer and a married student gave him a different kind of college experience. Several other baseball players were also married, and the Kampsens spent most of their time with these couples.
Despite a degree in political science, Steve has sold tissue paper products such as tissue and towels for 25 years. As business development manager for Georgia-Pacific Corp., he is responsible for $90 million in commercial sales and travels extensively.
Sales careers run in the family. Chris, who majored in economics and business, works for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. He and his wife, Holly Adams Kampsen ’02, live in Fresno, where she teaches fourth grade. Stefani Kampsen Pendergrass ‘03 transferred to her fiance’s school, the University of the Pacific, after two years at Westmont. She has started a business, a Pro Forma franchise in Fresno, and sells printing and speciality advertising. “It’s been a thrill to help her get her business started,” Steve says. Her husband works as a regional sales representative for a roofing tile company.
Since Chris inadvertently got his father involved at Westmont, Steve has returned the favor and recruited his son and daughter-in-law to serve as chapter leaders for the Central Valley and alumni board members. Even though Steve steps down as president at the end of 2004, he and his family will continue to be involved. “We are thrilled to be connected with Westmont,” he says.