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Remembering Heather West

Jun 8 2017

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Heather Carr West and Sarah West

Heather Carr West, left, and her sister Sarah in Bryce Canyon, Utah, in the summer of 2012.
 

It was our privilege to work with Heather Carr West, Stanford '09, who spent 2010-12 with the Center as our Program and Research Associate. In addition to supervising our summer interns and leading the 2011 Sophomore College field course down the Colorado River, Heather blazed the trail for our first annual hike from Stanford to the Sea. While with the Center, she also took time to pursue her own study of water use in the craft brewing industry

Fund Created with Stanford AthleticsHeather West tribute at Women's Water Polo page
Stanford Athletics and the Office of Development have worked in conjunction with The Bill Lane Center for the American West to honor Heather's enduring spirit with the creation of a fund in her memory. The fund will provide support for one or more students to participate in Sophomore College, a three-week immersive and experiential learning program, internships and other field-based programs at the Lane Center.
 
Read more about the fund »

As befitted her name, Heather was dedicated to and passionate about the lands and people of the North American West. On her way to Yale in 2012 to pursue a dual degree in business and forestry, Heather regaled us with photographs from her cross-country road trip and returned to the West often to pursue field work.

A vibrant presence and a tremendous athlete who twice captained the women's water polo team at Stanford, Heather was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in the fall of 2014. During her battle against the disease that she documented extensively online, Heather completed her dual master's degrees at Yale. On May 21, 2017, she passed away at home with her family in Davis. 

We hope you will share our heartfelt condolences with her family and our grief at this tremendous loss.

She will be honored at a memorial in Davis on June 10. In her honor, the West family has suggested contributions to programs at Stanford, Yale, and Davis High School, her almae matres.

Gifts in Heather's memory to Stanford's Bill Lane Center for the American West, her sister Sarah writes, "will provide support annually for one or more students to participate in Sophomore College, internships, or other field-based programs with the goal of getting students to learn first-hand about the region that Heather so loved."

More information on Heather's life and legacy can be found at the Davis Enterprise and on her family's website.
 

A Remembrance from Center co-founder David M. Kennedy
 
The joke at the Lane Center was that Heather got the job as our first Program and Research Associate because of her last name.
 
But it soon became apparent that Heather was no joke – but she sure was a lot of fun. Among her first assignments was putting together all the arrangements for our now-famous 2011 Sophomore College on the history and management of the Colorado River. She researched and negotiated with the rafting company that got us down the river; set up interviews with the superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park and the manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, among other officials; booked travel and lodging for all participants, and professionally executed a thousand other tasks. On the river, she was a splendid leader and full of derring-do: she swam every swimmable rapid (and some not so swimmable – at least by ordinary mortals); climbed every mesa; leaped into the water off every promontory, and in general was the most boon of companions and an inspiration to all.
 
Read about Sophomore College 2011 in the Stanford Alumni Magazine