John C. West served South Carolina and the nation as governor and ambassador. He was born in Camden, South Carolina, graduated from the Citadel in 1942, and received a law degree from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1948. West served in the state senate from 1955 until his election as lieutenant governor in 1966. In 1970 he was elected governor and provided progressive leadership to the state. During his term as governor, West established the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission to help implement integration throughout the state. He also supported teacher pay raises, automobile liability insurance reform, and vetoed the bill restoring the state's death penalty. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter appointed West ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a position he held until 1981. After retiring from public service West returned to his law practice, but remained an advocate for South Carolina.