Sarah and Larry West
Sarah and Larry West believe that if you support The University of Texas System, you support all of Texas. The couple established a Chancellor's Excellence Endowment with the certainty that such a gift starts a ripple effect that will, ultimately, benefit all UT institutions.
Deep Roots and Generous Spirits
Native Texan Larry West lives and practices law in Houston, but his roots stretch as far south as the Rio Grande Valley. Larry is a direct descendant of Claiborne Larkin West, who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836. Larry’s grandfather, Milton H. West, was a U.S. Congressman who represented the Valley.
With a personal history steeped in the history and politics of the state, Larry was particularly pleased when The University of Texas (UT) System revealed its plan to work with community, business and educational leaders to expand educational and health opportunities in South Texas. Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., “correctly identified the Valley as an underserved area,” says Larry. Therefore, the plan to establish a new university in the region, one that includes a medical school, “is very exciting.”
The South Texas plan confirms what Larry and his wife, Sarah, hold to be true: that it is important to support the UT System. “We decided to support the System because it reaches out to so many students,” says Sarah, an architectural consultant who is a graduate of Southern Methodist University (SMU). Despite her personal connection with SMU, Sarah has been “faithfully supporting the Longhorns” for as long as she can remember. “The UT System is a great help to the future of our state,” she states. Everywhere you look, the UT System is affecting people’s lives in positive ways.”
If UT System and UT institutions (including Larry’s alma mater, UT Austin) are known to be stellar, it is “in large part because of the quality of the students and professors at each of the campuses,” Larry says. He and Sarah have seen, first-hand, what UT System faculty, staff, students and alumni are able to achieve. Larry and Sarah are members of the Chancellor’s Council and regularly attend the Chancellor’s Council Annual Meeting & Symposium, which is held each year on the UT Austin campus.
It’s an amazing event,” says Sarah. Hundreds of people gather to learn about the latest discoveries or accomplishments made by those who are currently, or have been, part of the UT System family. “It always moves us and you leave truly proud of what UT institutions are doing.”
“We look forward to going to each meeting,” adds Larry. “We know that we’re going to be treated to something special.” In addition to learning from inspiring students, alumni and top-quality professors about their work, Larry is also impressed with fellow Chancellor’s Council members who attend the meetings, noting that they are all well-respected and successful. “We feel honored to be a part of that group.”
Sarah and Larry West have vowed that their support of the UT System will remain strong throughout the years. Certainly, the ties with UT Austin have been strengthened because their eldest son is now a Longhorn. When he graduates, says Larry, his son will have a strong network of alumni who “will immediately recognize the achievement; so many doors are opened by alumni.”
For their part, Sarah and Larry have opened their own doors to community members, becoming ambassadors for the UT System. During the receptions they host, the Wests share information about the ways in which UT institutions are benefiting communities across the state. “This is not a short-term commitment,” says Sarah. “We plan on being involved in the UT System for a lifetime.”