University of California, Davis, Chancellor Gary S. May announced today (Feb. 7) he will award the UC Davis Medal to alumnus Bruce West, chair of the UC Davis Foundation Board and a member of the Chancellor’s Board of Advisors.
The chancellor made the surprise announcement at a foundation board meeting this morning. “I’m pleased to say that the 2020 recipient of the UC Davis Medal is right here in the room,” May said as he turned to West.
The university accords individuals no higher honor than the UC Davis Medal in recognition of extraordinary contributions that embody the campus’s Vision of Excellence. Medalists inspire and support the success and engagement of students, faculty, staff and alumni, and foster a bold and innovative spirit in teaching, research and public service.
West, who holds two degrees in civil engineering — Bachelor of Science (1971) and Master of Science (1973) — has been fostering excellence at his alma mater for decades. He’s been a member of the engineering dean’s executive committee since its inception in 2002, and also serves on the Athletics Board.
He received the College of Engineering’s Alumni Medal in 2000 and Distinguished Service Medal in 2012. The Cal Aggie Alumni Association presented its Jerry W. Fielder Memorial Award to West in 2016, in recognition of his long-standing dedication to UC Davis.
He first served on the UC Davis Foundation’s board of trustees from 1991 to 2001, and came back on in 2013. He has been the chair since 2018 and is credited with spearheading the foundation’s strategic plan.
The nonprofit foundation plays an essential role in sustaining and enhancing the excellence of UC Davis by highlighting the impacts of philanthropy and stewarding private donations to the university.
West is a past chair of the Davis Chancellor’s Club, the university’s oldest donor recognition society, for people who give $1,000 or more annually to any area of campus.
He and his wife, Marie, members of the Leadership Giving Society, have donated to the College of Engineering and Intercollegiate Athletics, as well as the Annual Fund; colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and Letters and Science; Graduate School of Management; Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts; UC Davis Health; and CAAA.
Bruce West is a former member of the CAAA board and a past chair of the Cal Aggie Engineering Alumni Association board.
“As my service continues, it is my pride in how UC Davis fulfills its commitment to students, faculty and staff that drives me and my wife, Marie, to be deeply involved with the university and in this community,” he wrote in an online message as chair of the UC Davis Foundation.
After completing his graduate degree, he worked in the public sector for two years, in Los Angeles County, before becoming a consulting engineer in the private sector. He and his UC Davis classmate Jim Yost started the West Yost Associates engineering firm in Davis in 1990, focusing exclusively on water projects, including water supply, wastewater, recycled water, groundwater and storm water.
A retired founding principal, West has been responsible for project or program management of numerous large, complex projects, including facilities planning and design of water and wastewater facilities throughout California and Oregon.
He and his business partner funded the West Yost Teaching Lab, for environmental engineering students, in Ghausi Hall. And the Kemper Hall lobby is named after Bruce and Marie West.
The university will formally present Bruce West’s medal at a gala in June. Details will be announced later.