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50 for 50: W. Richard West Jr.

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W. Richard West Jr.

W. Richard West Jr.

West (Southern Cheyenne) is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Autry Museum of the American West. West has devoted his professional life and much of his personal life to working in the national and international museum communities, and with American Indians on cultural, educational, legal, and governmental issues. West is also the Founding Director and Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

As an attorney and partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, and then Gover, Stetson, Williams & West, P.C., West represented American Indian tribes, communities, and organizations before federal, state and tribal courts, various executive departments of the federal government, and the Congress.

West’s current board affiliations and memberships include:  International Coalition of Sites of Conscience; ICOM-US National Committee; Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums. He has served on the boards of trustees of the Ford Foundation, Stanford University, and the Kaiser Family Foundation, in various roles on the board of directors for the American Alliance of Museums (member-at-large, vice chair, chair), and on the International Council of Museums (member-at-large, Vice President).

In addition to his Stanford degree, West has a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in American history from University of Redlands in California and a master’s degree in American history from Harvard. At Stanford, West was a recipient of the Hilmer Oehlmann Jr. Prize for excellence in legal writing and served as an editor and note editor of the Stanford Law Review.

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