Bessie Brooks West attended Michigan State Normal School for three years and later received her Bachelor's and her Master's degrees from the University of California. She taught in secondary schools at Lind, Wash.; Mullan, ID; and Berkeley, CA, before joining the K-State staff in 1928. She served as head of Kansas State Agricultural College's Department of Institutional Management for its first 28 years, until 1956. She co-authored the first college text in institutional management, Food Service in Institutions, which was published in 1938. She also co-authored Food for Fifty. West took sabbatical leave to set up a department of Institutional Management at the University of Hawaii, 1938-1939.
The professional education section of the American Dietetics Association (ADA) elected her chairman in 1940. In 1942, she was elected secretary of the ADA, and President of the Kansas Dietetic Association. She served as President of the ADA in 1945. The Michigan Normal School gave her an honorary Master's degree of education in 1949. In 1960, she received the Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award. In 1962-1963, she served as acting head of the department of food service at the State University of New York Agriculture and Technology Institute. In 1963-1964, she was a visiting professor at Pennsylvania State University.
West retired from KSU and became a professor emeritus in 1960. KSU honored her by naming West Hall after her in 1962. In 1964, she was named the first recipient of the Phi Delta Gamma's achievement award, which recognizes unusual achievement and outstanding contributions by members of their group.
Sources of information:
Vertical File. West Hall
K-Stater, June 1960, pg. 15
Collegian, July 2, 1964