The Collegian
Sunday, May 28, 2023

Behind the syllabus: Ellis West

What do you do during the weekends?

I do whatever my wife wants me to do, which ranges from working on projects in and around the house to going to cultural events like music concerts.

What's the craziest thing you did when you were in college?

The riskiest thing I did was hitchhike a few times between the University of Richmond and my home 700 miles away in West Tennessee. I was picked up by some real characters. Perhaps the most questionable thing I did occurred early in my first year here. Another freshman received a parking ticket and told me that it was undeserved. (Later I learned that it was most definitely deserved) To help him, and because I thought I was destined to be a "hot shot" lawyer, I went to the Richmond Traffic Court, pretended to be him and got the ticket dropped (don't have space to tell you how I did that). Needless to say, my friend and his buddy who was with him were amazed and elated at my feat. The episode had important consequences on my life. Because the other two students were both on the football team, every time I ran for a student government office, I won - partially because all the football players voted for me.

What's one thing your students would never guess about you?

That I am a musician of sorts. I sing, play the piano and, for several years, directed church choirs.

Contact staff writers Maria Ribas at or Maggie Finucane at

Support independent student media

You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.

Donate Now