Richard Kempson

Richard L. Kempson


Born: Phoenix, Arizona

Academic Degrees

  • BS: Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1952
  • MD: Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, 1955

Academic Positions

  • 1963 - 1968 Instructor then Assistant Professor (1966) of Pathology and Surgical Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, MO
  • 1968 - 2001 Associate Professor then Professor (1974) of Pathology and Co-Director of Surgical Pathology (1974), Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  • 2002 Professor Emeritus, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California


  • Philadelphia General Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA
  • Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

Military Service

  • 1956 - 1959 United States Army Captain, M.C.

Selected Career Highlights

  • Studied under Drs. Richard Reed, Wallace Clark, Emanuel Farber and William Sternberg at Tulane.

  • At Washington University honed his skills as a surgical pathologist under Dr. Lauren Ackerman.

  • Developed one of the best Surgical Pathology Fellowships in the land, which has populated pathology departments across the USA. Well known for his "extraordinary eye".

  • President of: the Arthur Purdy Stout Society (1996), and the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology (1993-1995); "Charter Founder/Member" of the ADASP. President of the California Society of Pathologists (2002-2004).

  • Published over 100 papers and 40 Chapters.

  • Special areas of interest include: Gyn Pathology (especially uterine mesenchymal proliferations). His were among the first studies to use mitotic index as a basis for stratifying uterine sarcomas, and studies elucidating the natural history of endometrial carcinoma and its variants and a variety of benign mimics of carcinomas. Also, substantial contributions to the subject of soft tissue pathology, instrumental in popularizing the unifying concept of the fibrous histiocytomas, and author of classic papers on atypical fibroxanthoma and a number of MFH variants. He helped clarify the diagnostic criteria for fatty tumors. Other interests include breast pathology, GI stromal tumors, and medical diseases of the kidney.

  • Instrumental in rethinking some of the foundational issues in diagnostic surgical pathology relating to tumor classification. Stressed the importance of clearly stated morphologic criteria for disease entities and has insisted on the importance of clinical outcome. He long believed that the conventional distinctions of "benign" and "malignant" were inadequate to capture the clinically useful categories that physicians employ in their practice.

  • Author, AFIP/ARP Fascicle on Soft Tissue Tumors.

  • Member, Editorial Boards including:

    • American Journal of Surgical Pathology
    • Annals of Diagnostic Pathology
    • Histopathology
    • Human Pathology
    • International Journal of Surgical Pathology
    • Modern Pathology
    • Pathology International
  • Very active in the national and international speaking circuit (wonderful speaker) and has held numerous Visiting Professorships throughout the world.

  • Multiple Teaching Awards including: California Society of Pathologists Teaching Award (1999), Distinguished Pathologist Award from the USCAP (2003), and the H.P.Smith Award for Distinguished Pathology Educator from the American Society of Clinical Pathology (2004).

  • Hobbies include: Love of opera (particularly Wagner), a keen interest and knowledge of good wine, history, and travel.


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