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Nick West

11 June 2009

Nick West, an events coordinator in the Development and College Relations office of the College of Letters and Science, died of cancer on Monday, May 11, at Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley. He was 54.

West was born in Houston, Texas, in 1954. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale with a B.A. in political and economic systems in 1976 and went on to earn a master's in interactive telecommunications in 1987 from New York University.

West began his work at Berkeley in 2008 with 20 years of experience in the research and development of interactive media. He had been part of the lead team for Apple's Multimedia Lab and Discovery Studio in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He also served as the research director and producer for YORB, an interactive-TV project at NYU, and spent a year working in Rio de Janeiro as the new-media coordinator at Brazil's National Fine Arts Museum. He later worked for several years in London helping create and test a PDA and mobile-phone tool for annotating maps interactively.

Though his battle with cancer was ongoing, Nick's death came as a surprise to many. John McKee, dean of development and college relations for L&S, summarized the sentiments of Nick's colleagues, saying, "Those who worked with him will remember Nick as a truly kind and gentle soul whose time at Berkeley was much too short."

Nick is survived by his brother, Mike, his sister-in-law, Janice, and their five children; and by his partner of 14 years, Liz Penniman. Two memorial services have already been held: one on May 23, at Redwood Gardens in Berkeley, and the second on Sunday, May 31, in Austin, Texas.

Katie Hughes
College of Letters and Science