JOHN D. KEMP
President and CEO of The Viscardi Center
In February 2011, John D. Kemp, Esq. became only the fourth President & CEO of The Viscardi Center a non-profit organization providing a life span of services that educate, employ and empower people with disabilities. A renowned, sought-after global speaker, he is widely respected for his many achievements, both in the corporate and non-profit worlds. As a person with a disability who uses four prostheses, he inspires others to achieve the impossible through knowledge, experience, vision, personality, and persistence.
Mr. Kemp graduated from Georgetown University in 1971 and Washburn University School of Law in 1974. He has received two Honorary Doctorate degrees, the first an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Washburn University School of Law in May 2003, and the second, on May 5, 2018, an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Connecticut, while serving as the Graduate School Commencement Speaker. In March 2006, Mr. Kemp received the Henry B. Betts Award, widely regarded as America’s highest honor for disability leadership and service.
With more than 50 years of direct experience in the disability movement, Mr. Kemp has partnered with, worked for and served as Board Member/Chair or CEO of some of the leading disability and nonprofit organizations. In 1995, Mr. Kemp co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities with Paul G. Hearne. In 2001, he became a partner in the Washington, DC Law Firm of Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, P.C., where he developed an active federal legislative and lobbying practice. He co-authored Reflections From A Different Journey in 2004 with Dr. Stanley Klein, and the “Career and Workforce Development in the Arts for Youth with Disabilities” chapter of Handbook of Arts Education and Special Education Policy, Research, and Practices in 2018.
In December 2014, Mr. Kemp received the Dole Leadership Prize at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas—the first disability leader to receive the distinction and personally selected by former U.S. Senator Robert Dole. He joined a prestigious group of international recipients including Nelson Mandela and former U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton. As an alumnus, he received a 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from Washburn University School of Law.
He is also the Board Chair of Viscardi’s Project Accessible Oral Health, a global public-private partnership that brings together people with disabilities, the dental and medical communities, policymakers, industry members, educators, caregivers, and other stakeholders in pursuit of improved overall health through greater oral health awareness, education and access for the disability community.
Mr. Kemp, and his wife Sameta, reside on Long Island.