West elected first female, first minority board chairperson at Waynesburg University

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b2ap3_thumbnail_West.pngMarilyn House West has been elected chair of the Board of Trustees at Waynesburg University. The Elizabeth, Pa., native is a 1967 graduate of the University and has served as a trustee for many years. 

“I look forward to working collaboratively with the board and the administration to continue the vibrant and unequivocal success of a University that stands on high standards and provides rich and diverse learning opportunities for student success,” said West, who is the first female and first minority to lead the University’s board in its history.

West is the founder, owner and Chief Executive Officer of M.H. West and Co., a Richmond, Virginia based planning and consulting company with specialization in management, education and planning services. West and her team have served clients ranging from government agencies to large corporations and school systems. 

West currently leads the board of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center and the Senior Center of Greater Richmond.  She serves on the boards of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Richmond Metro Transportation Authority, Bon Secours Richmond Health Care Foundation and the St. Joseph’s Villa.

In 2015, West was honored by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Richmond with its 2015 Outstanding Women Award, which recognizes women in the Greater Richmond area who have made significant contributions to the community through their exceptional leadership, sustained dedication and inspiring achievements.  In 2016, she was recognized by Style Weekly with an Executive Woman in Business Achievement Award. She will be inducted in the Virginia Business Hall of Fame later this month.

West received Waynesburg University’s Margaret Bell Miller Leadership Award in 2009 and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.

“Over the years, Mrs. West has been an inspiration of leadership,” said Waynesburg University President Douglas G. Lee. “I could not be more pleased with her election to chair of our board. I have no doubt that her commitment to our alma mater will aid in its continued advancement.”

West began her record of leadership while still a student at Waynesburg University in the 1960s. At that time, she was asked to pledge a national sorority by its local members. In pledging, she would become the first African-American member of the sorority. 

In response to the membership invitation, the national organization froze the assets of the local sorority and threatened to revoke their national charter. West and the students in the sorority at Waynesburg chose to withdraw from the national sorority rather than refuse her membership. 

West and the University students received national acclaim for making this bold move. Telegrams, letters from individuals, colleges, churches and other organizations from across the country shared words of congratulations and praise for this action.

West holds a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health and a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Waynesburg University.

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Ashley Wise, Associate Director of University Relations

724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu