Anne West

Anne West

Doctor of Letters

Born and educated in England, Anne has crossed the Atlantic Ocean more times than anyone can remember.

After her secondary schooling, she worked from 1952-1959 first in England, then immigrated to Montreal to work as a secretary (1959-1961), then back to England to assist a yacht broker. In 1963, she returned to Montreal to marry Christopher West and to work as a fund-raiser for the newly-founded Oxfam Canada. Then it was to England and Scotland for three years only to return to Canada, this time to live in Saint John, New Brunswick, where she not only volunteered in helping to organize Miles for Millions, a walk sponsored for Oxfam Canada but also continued to pursue her interest in sailing. Then it was back to England for nine years (1970-1979) where she worked for a book publishing company as a graphic designer, did volunteer fundraising for heritage conservation, and ran the financial side of her husband?s business.

In 1980, the Wests returned to Canada for good, living first for two years in Marystown, Newfoundland, where she worked as a journalist, covering the Burin Peninsula and parts of the South Shore of the province for the Evening Telegram; also undertook volunteer work with the Family Aid Committee of the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart Parish.

In 1982, the Wests moved to Halifax where Anne worked as a freelance journalist in the field of offshore oil and gas exploration; belonged to Ward I Residents? Association and involved herself in planning and heritage issues. She was one of a group who tried to save the Mitchell House, Tower Road, and helped to save the Victorian Row Houses on Summer Street. By 1986, she was editing the Sackville Citizen, a short-lived weekly newspaper.

It was, however, after 1986 that Anne?s name became almost a household word in the Halifax area.

At that time, she joined Saint Mary's University as editor of The Times; then later became Assistant Director of Public Affairs, responsible for most of the University?s promotional and institutional publications. She has also served on the Donald Higgins Memorial Committee and served as Co-ordinator of the WUSC sponsoring refugee students. Anne claims that she ?thoroughly enjoyed the University community and the wide range of opportunities which working at Saint Mary's offered?. She retired early in May 1994 to be with her husband in his retirement.

Not surprisingly, Anne continued to be busy by virtue of joining the Board of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia and becoming editor and designer of its newsletter, The Griffin.

2 June 1994 was a sad day for Halifax in that the Saint George?s Round Church was burned. From day one, Anne was involved as a member of the Restoration Committee, eventually becoming Chair of the Fundraising Committee and Public Relations Chair. During this project, she learned a great deal about working with volunteers, with professional fundraisers, with the media and with all three levels of government. She claimed to have ?received wonderful support from all these groups and considered it a privilege to have worked with them?. Almost $4.7 million was raised for restoration of the Round Church, which is now complete. During this period of time, she worked to promote Saint George?s Round Church and the Little Dutch Church as a heritage tourism venue. In 1998, 3,000 visitors came; in 1999, the number reached 4,000.

From 1995 to the present she has served as Chair of the Little Dutch Church Management Committee, which includes members of Saint George?s Parish and the German-Canadian Association of Nova Scotia. From 1995 to 1999, this group undertook the restoration of the Little Dutch Church, including extensive archaeological excavations. It is now working to maintain the building and in 2004 replaced the historic weathervane. An application for National Historic Site Status for the Little Dutch Church was granted in 1998. She is also a board member and active volunteer for Saint George?s YouthNet, an outreach program to the youth of North end Halifax.

In 1999, the University of King?s College bestowed on her the degree of Doctor of Canon Law (honoris causa).

Anne responded positively to the President?s request to produce a picture history of Saint Mary's to commemorate its 200th anniversary. The resulting Saint Mary's University: An Anniversary Portrait was produced in record time and added immensely to its history.

In November 2004, she became a member of the Steering Committee for the Point Pleasant Park International Design Competition. This is a Committee of HRM set up to oversee a competition to create a restoration and management plan for Point Pleasant Park, which was so devastated by Hurricane Juan in September 2003.

Anne and her husband, Chris, reside in Halifax close by the University. They have three grown sons.