Pfeiffer mourns loss of former president Dr. Cameron West
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009
MISENHEIMER ó Dr. Cameron P. West, Pfeiffer University’s sixth president, died Sunday at age 87.
An education advocate, West served a distinguished career in higher education which began at Pfeiffer, where he served in several capacities, including professor of education from 1956 to 1960 and as academic dean from 1960 to 1966.
West’s leadership was central in founding the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and he is credited for his leadership in the creation of the North Carolina Legislative Tuition Grant, which has enabled hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians to afford access to education at the state’s independent colleges and universities.
West left, then returned to serve as the sixth president of what was then Pfeiffer College from 1978 until his retirement in 1988. He was named an honorary member of the Pfeiffer College Class of 1966, an honorary Pfeiffer alumnus and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Pfeiffer. The Grace and Cameron West Art Gallery at Pfeiffer is named in honor of West and his late wife, Grace Creech West.
After retiring from Pfeiffer, West served as a consultant to Elon College and as interim president of Brevard College.
Among his accomplishments are serving on the Foundation for International Education board, where he was involved in founding the largest teacher-exchange program in the nation, and serving as director of the N.C. Board of Higher Education, where he was principal author of the 1968 Long Range Plan for Higher Education and led the effort to create the University of North Carolina System.
West received the annual Hugh McEniry Award from the N.C. Association of Colleges and Universities for a lifetime of leadership in North Carolina higher education.
Born in Walstonburg, West earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Following the war, he worked as a public school administrator in Fairmont and Jacksonville while earning his master’s and doctoral degrees from UNC Chapel Hill.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be made to the Cameron P. and Grace West Scholarship Fund, Pfeiffer University, P.O. Box 960, Misenheimer, N.C. 28109.