Fall 2004: Togo West
Inducted: September 17 & 19, 2003
Initiated: November 19, 2003
Joseph Gugumuck - President
Dylan Bolster - Vice President
Jacky Sydnor - Treasurer
Allyson Irish - Secretary
Jodi Ganoe - Co-Historian
Erin Kerrick - Co-Historian
Friendship Event: Mock Revelation Scavanger Hunt and Dinner
Very Important Pledge (VIP):
Namesake: Secretary Togo West
In 1961, Togo Dennis West Jr. became a Brother of the Zeta Phi Chapter
at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Brother West has consistently exemplified
APO's Cardinal Principles of Leadership and Friendship, as well as extraordinary
Service in each of the four fields.
Secretary West received the Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering
from Howard University in 1965 and the Juris Doctor degree from the same university
in 1968. He was Managing Editor of the Howard Law Journal, graduating cum laude and
first in his class. Secretary West began his military career upon graduation from
college when he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Field Artillery
Corps. He subsequently practiced law and served as a senior official in three
Under President Clinton, he served as Secretary of the Army and then as Secretary
of Veterans Affairs. While Secretary of the Army, he also served as Chairman of the
Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Commission, a Presidentially appointed body
with a binational board confirmed by the Senate that was responsible for the policies
and operation of the Panama Canal. Under President Carter, he was General Counsel of
the Department of Defense; Special Assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of
Defense; and General Counsel of the Navy. In the administration of President Ford, he
served as Associate Deputy Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice.
Currently of counsel at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., his practice includes
corporate responsibility, government contracts, government relations, national and
homeland security, counseling and assistance to defense-related industries, and general
litigation matters. He is at presently admitted to the bars of the District of Columbia,
the state of New York, various Federal District and Appellate Courts, and the U.S. Supreme
Court. He served as law clerk to Judge Harold R. Tyler, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of New York. He has served in several capacities in organizations
related to the legal profession and is a frequent commentator on national and homeland security
issues on cable and network news programs and in other national media.
Secretary West is past Chairman of the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
He is proud of the fact that he is an Eagle Scout, which is part of what drew him to APO in college.
BSA has honored Secretary West at the highest level as Distinguished Eagle Scout and with the Silver
Buffalo Award for his "national contributions to America's youth." The Secretary's other community
involvement is vast; it includes serving on the District of Columbia's Committee on Public Education,
and current chairmanships of the Board of Directors of both the Greater Washington Board of Trade and
the Washington Hospital Center. He served as Senior Warden of Saint John's Church, Lafayette Square and
has served on the Standing Committee and the Finance Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington,
and of the Cathedral Chapter of the Washington National Cathedral.
Secretary West has received many awards and honors during his career, including the Legion of Merit
and the Meritorious Service Medal for his service in the U.S. military and the Medal of Merit from the
Federal Republic of Brazil. For his public service, he has twice received the Department of Defense
Medal for Distinguished Public Service; he also received the Department of the Army Decoration for
Distinguished Civilian Service, the Department of the Navy Award for Distinguished Public Service,
and the Department of the Air Force Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service.
Despite his many obligations, Secretary West has not forgotten his campus or this Fraternity.
He quietly participated in the rechartering of the Zeta Phi Chapter in April 2003. He slipped in
the door, donned his old APO sweater, which he had lovingly kept over the years, and was one of
many proud alumni to attend this wonderful event. He called no attention to himself, but the
students knew who he was and flocked to him; they were glad he was there, as were his fellow
Zeta Phi alumni. He graciously stood for dozens of pictures, warmly answered questions and
exemplified all that a Brother should be in word and in deed. He personally thanked APO students
and Board members for what they do to advance the goals of our Fraternity.
He is married to Gail Berry West, a law school classmate who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary
of the Air Force from 1980 to 1981, and they reside together in Washington, D.C. Their daughter,
Tiffany, a graduate of Yale Law School, is employed in private practice in Denver, Colorado.
Their daughter, Hilary, a Connecticut College graduate, is a paralegal in a Washington, D.C., law firm.
A finer example of a Brother honing his skills, going out into the world and making a difference
in a uniquely American way, is hard to find. Secretary West is deeply honored by the Fraternity's
Fall Pledge Class Namesake distinction, and we are delighted to honor a man whose life and service
are a true model for all Americans. We are proud to call Secretary West a Brother of Alpha Phi Omega.
By tradition, the Fall Pledge Class Namesake Honoree challenges the Fall Pledge Class.
Here is Togo's challenge:
"I urge this year's Pledges to complete literacy and mentoring focused service projects to help
public school students. Specifically, service projects with pre-high school students who are
reading below grade level. After-school and classroom volunteer programs need your help. The young
men and women of Alpha Phi Omega are wonderful people who can set positive examples for youngsters
struggling in school. As college students, you have made it in their eyes and you are important
role models for them. Your service sends a powerful message about the importance of literacy and
the value of an education. There is no surer way to be of service to your community and your nation
than helping a young person realize his or her potential."