WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 9, 2021) – The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) will dedicate a Pennsylvania State Marker honoring Charles Fremont West, M.D., W&J Class of 1924. The dedication will be held Sept. 18, 2021 at 4 p.m. on the lawn of McMillan Hall on the W&J campus.
“Dr. West’s life and legacy are an inspiration to our students and a point of pride for the College,” said W&J President John C. Knapp, Ph.D. “He is a major player in W&J’s storied athletic history, but most importantly his dedication to academic excellence and community service embody W&J’s mission. This recognition is a great honor for both Dr. West and the College.”
The 2021 football season marks the 100th anniversary of the W&J Presidents playing in the historic Rose Bowl game, which culminated their 1921-1922 season. At 5:40 p.m. on Sept. 18, prior to the W&J vs. Bethany College football game, a ceremony to commemorate the team and honor their living descendants will be held at Cameron Stadium. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m.
Dr. West, a multi-sport athletics hall-of-famer who went on to become a prominent physician in the Alexandria, Va. area, was the first black quarterback to play in the Rose Bowl. West played in the famed 1922 Rose Bowl between W&J and the University of California Golden Bears, and the game remains the only scoreless tie in Rose Bowl history. It was also the final Rose Bowl game at Tournament Park in Pasadena before the event was moved to Rose Bowl Stadium, where it is held today.
Dr. West’s athletic prowess was not limited to football. In track and field, West won the National Collegiate Pentathlon Championship at the Penn Relays in 1922 and 1923 and he was named to the 1924 U.S. Olympic team, though injury prevented his participation. He signed with the Akron Pros professional football team after graduating from W&J in 1924, but instead chose to retire from athletics and attend Howard University Medical School in Washington, D.C.
Dr. West practiced medicine in Alexandria, Virginia for 50 years and his community service outshined his work on the athletic field. The Alexandria Urban League recognized him for his community service in 1973, and in 1978 he received a Howard University Medical Alumni Association citation for his years of practice. Dr. West also received the W&J Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1978. He passed away the following year, on Nov. 20, 1979.
During the 2018 Tournament of Roses, Dr. West was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall in a ceremony held in Pasadena, Calif. that was attended by his daughter, Linda West Nickens, as well as President Knapp and his wife, Kelly. His legacy at W&J continues through The Charles West Scholars, a program that seeks to educate, engage, and empower black and African-American-identifying students at W&J. Scholars meet monthly to host discussions on topics of race, diversity, campus life, or other subjects as proposed by members, and perform community service projects each semester.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.