Saint Luke's Hospital Foundation's annual recognition luncheon to honor Foundation Fellow Robert H. West

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (April 16, 2010) — Robert H. West is the 2010 Saint Luke's Hospital Foundation Fellow award recipient for his lifelong support of Saint Luke's Hospital. The award recognizes individuals who have given time, expertise, and charitable support to advance research, education, and medical programs at Saint Luke's.

For more than 40 years, West has brought his vision and experience in commerce and community service to the Kansas City area. Saint Luke's Hospital is fortunate to be a beneficiary of this generous service.

Under West's leadership, Saint Luke's Hospital Foundation coordinated three successful campaigns to secure support for capital improvements, equipment, medical programs, education, and research initiatives. With each effort, supporters exceeded the campaign goal. The recent “Campaign for the New Saint Luke's” exceeded the campaign's goal by $10 million with $85 million raised, the largest campaign in the hospital's history.

“Bob has put his heart and soul into Saint Luke's Hospital and Health System,” said Tom W. Wagstaff, president of the board of directors of Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City and chairman of the Foundation. “Because of Bob and his leadership, the system developed into what it is today. His style is quiet, yet very meaningful. When he speaks, everyone listens.”

West was born at Saint Luke's, a third-generation resident of the area. His two daughters were also born at the hospital.

West's service to Saint Luke's began in 1968, when he was elected to the Saint Luke's Hospital board of directors. He served as the hospital board's treasurer and Finance Committee chair for eight years before becoming president of the hospital and chairman of the Foundation in 1995. He retired from these roles in 2008.

During West's tenure as president, Saint Luke's Hospital received several prestigious awards, including the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award, the highest honors given to a hospital.

Today, West remains an active member of the hospital and health system boards, as well as several committees. He is a trustee emeritus of the Foundation and member of its Heritage and Honor Societies.

In addition to Saint Luke's Hospital, West's civic service as a board member or trustee has included the University of Missouri – Kansas City, Midwest Research Institute, and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. In 2004, he was the recipient of the Edward A. Smith Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership, for which he was co-nominated by Saint Luke's and UMKC. He has also served on the boards of Commerce Bancshares and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and he is currently on the Great Plains Energy board.

West became vice-president of First National Bank of Kansas City in 1962. He held this position until 1968, when he joined Butler Manufacturing as assistant treasurer.

West worked his way through the ranks of Butler, becoming the company's chairman and CEO in 1986, a position he held until his retirement in 1999. He was instrumental in steering the company back to profitability after losses in the early 1980s. He also helped grow the company internationally, bringing Butler Manufacturing to Japan, Saudi Arabia, and China.

In both business and community service, West has brought thoughtful planning, a vision for the future, and courage to implement new ideas.

“Bob has a unique skill set and background that has enabled him to be of great service to Saint Luke's,” said Charles Horner, who serves on the Saint Luke's Hospital and Health System boards. “His broad experience in finance, commerce, and chairmanship is invaluable. And his personal interest and support of others encourages people to do their best.”

Saint Luke's Hospital Foundation will celebrate the “Spirit of Saint Luke's” Annual Recognition Luncheon, chaired by Carol and Humbert Tinsman, on Tuesday, May 18, at the InterContinental Hotel. The event will pay tribute to West as well as members of the Foundation's Heritage and Honor Societies, in celebration of the spirit of generosity and commitment that makes Saint Luke's unique.