The University of Cincinnati will bestow its highest award, an honorary doctorate, to alumnus Judge John Andrew West during the university’s Dec. 8 Commencement ceremony. UC President Neville Pinto will name Judge West an Honorary Doctor of Laws at the ceremony.
A native of Cincinnati, Judge West received all of his formal education locally, graduating from Walnut Hills High School, the University of Cincinnati, and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law. In addition, West is a proud member of the Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities. He currently serves on the Salmon P. Chase School of Law Advisory Board and is the chairman for the University of Cincinnati Community Advisory Board.
During the span of his professional career, West has held a wide variety of positions. He taught history at Roberts Junior High School; served as program coordinator for the Citizens’ Committee On Youth; worked as a purchasing agent for the Large Jet Engine Division of the General Electric Company; served as a staff attorney for the Model Cities Law Office; and practiced law for 24 years before being appointed to the bench of the Hamilton County Municipal Court in 1996. In 2001, He joined the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court General Division, from which he recently retired. While serving on the Court of Common Pleas, he was instrumental in creating the Hamilton County Common Pleas Mental Health Court, which was recognized by the Ohio Supreme Court in 2014 as a specialty court.
In addition to being a past chairman of the Hamilton County Public Defenders Association, West has served on the Civil Service Commission for the city of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Bar Association Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, the Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association, the National Conference for Community and Justice, the Melrose Street YMCA, and the Advisory Board for the University of Cincinnati College for Arts and Sciences. He is also a former co-chairman of the BLAC-CBA Roundtable, an organization dedicated to increasing the presence of African-Americans in the mainstream Cincinnati legal community, and is a founding member of the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati (BLAC).
Judge West has dedicated his life to helping others succeed, and in 1997 he was recognized as the “Best Judge” on the Hamilton County Municipal Court bench by Cincinnati Magazine. He has received numerous awards for his community involvement and service to the legal profession. Among the many awards received, are: Profiles In Courage, Men of Style and Substance, University of Cincinnati College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award and the Theodore M. Berry Award from the Cincinnati Branch NAACP.
West is married to Miriam E. West, (former Director of Mentoring for the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative), and is the father of Hamilton County Municipal Court Chief Magistrate Melissa E. West.