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UC Davis Magazine

Volume 26 · Number 2 · Winter 2009

An Anniversary Visit

Frisbee photoQuad photoMondavi Center photoArt student photo

Alumnus and photographer Jim West takes a fresh look at campus after being away for two decades.

What would it be like to be away from UC Davis for 20 years and then come back and look at it through new eyes? Photographer Jim West ’79, an alumnus and former campus employee did just that. Now a professor of photography at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, West has photographed U.S. presidents, he has shot the world from French Polynesia to Japan, he has taught thousands of students, and now he has donated his considerable talents and time to capture the Davis campus once again in honor of his anniversary visit and the campus’s Centennial.

“So many things have changed, and so many things are the same,” says West. “Many new buildings have gone up, and many historic buildings are being refurbished. Of course, the bikes are still here, but students are now talking on cell phones while riding bikes — and sometimes talking on the phone to each other while riding next to each other. I see so many students working on laptops on the Quad.

“UC Davis has truly become a large living and breathing institution of learning. I can feel the energy as I walk across the campus I have come to love and cherish.”

West received his degree in studio arts with an emphasis in photography and was photography editor at the California Aggie. After he graduated, he worked for the publications division at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, but then returned to campus to work at Illustration Services. Now called Academic Technology Services, the unit provides a wide range of print and digital media services for the campus. During that period, West provided much of the photography for UC Davis Magazine and for the campus’s faculty and staff newspaper, Dateline UC Davis.

Then 20 years ago, deciding he wanted to teach full time, West joined Cosumnes River College, where he now heads up the photography department. And each summer, he teaches photography classes in exotic locations around the world.

“I miss my friends at the university, and I miss the campus,” says West. “I feel it is still a part of my family, and it was an honor and privilege to have been a part of the UC Davis campus community again.”

Click on images at right for larger versions.