1975 - Dr. Ratliff agreed to coordinate regular meetings of Upward Bound Directors in Southern California. Most of these meetings included conversations surrounding the need for a professional association.
1976 - A small group of TRIO project directors convened in Long Beach to begin the process of writing a constitution and by-laws for what was originally called the Association of TRIO project Directors of Region IX. Recognizing the implied limitation on membership of the name, and the fact that it was not easily convertible to a neat acronym, the name was later changed to the Western Association of Educational Opportunity Programs. Finally, Programs was changed to Personnel.
1977 - The WESTOP President and President-Elect attended the Mid America Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel (MAEOPP). Attendance at the conference awakened them to the real potential for WESTOP to serve as an organizational representative of professional educators throughout the region and as the champion of educational development for all low-income and underrepresented youth.
1979 - The conclusion was made that there was a need to generate income in order to finance the activities of WESTOP. The easiest way would be to emulate the example of other TRIO based associations and sponsor a regional conference. Lake Tahoe was selected as the site and the first conference of WESTOP was held in February.
1980 - A small contingent of newer association members had concluded that there was a great potential clout and influence in WESTOP and that there did not appear to be much opportunity for them or other new members to break into the small enclave of leaders.
1996 - Throughout WESTOP's history, California had commanded a large influence on WESTOP in terms of activities, issues, and leadership. It wasn't until 1996 that WESTOP saw it's first President form a chapter outside of California with Adrian Tanakeyowma of the Arizona Chapter.
2001 - Leonard Woods became the first WESTOP President from the Nevada Chapter and the second from outside of California.
2003 - At WESTOP's Annual Conference in Hawaii, the WESTOP membership voted to recognize the newly created Central California Chapter (CenCal). Previously, only two Chapters existed in California-- those being the Northern California (NorCal) and Southern California (SoCal) Chapters.
2004 - James Oda became the first WESTOP President from the Pacific Islands Chapter.
2005 - CenCal quickly created more WESTOP history when Jose Martinez-Saldana became the first WESTOP President from CenCal.
2007 - WESTOP is running under a new leadership structure. The Board of Directors was once a Board of 22 people. Leadership now consists of a smaller sized Board of 11 which focuses on policy and a Service Council of 7 which provides services and activities.
2008 - WESTOP Board developed a 5-year Strategic Plan (2009-2014). WESTOP Board of Directors (BOD) held their first board meeting in Palau. BOD members met with TRIO programs on the island, as well as with the President of the Republic of Palau to discuss education issues. WESTOP Annual Conference at Kona, HI, worked in conjunction with University of Washington TRIO training.
2010 - WESTOP Annual Conference at Long Beach, held the second Educational Summit with the CA Department of Education. Vice President's of university's and local instructors were present at the summit. The first was held at WESTOP Conference in Burlingame in 2007.
2011 - Sergio Galvez was the first WESTOP President to serve two consecutive terms, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. He served as Past President, 2013-2014 and is currently fulfilling the duties of Past President, 2014-2015.
2014 - TRIO Alum and U.S. House of Representative Steven Horsford (D-NV, 4th District) was a keynote speaker. Congressman Horsford is an alumnus from the University of Nevada, Reno, Student Support Services Program. WESTOP had the largest group representation at Policy Seminar 2014. WESTOP created a way to collect "real-time" reporting and calculating progress of our Capitol Hill visits with the assistance of President Elect Anita Blanco.
2016 - WESTOP Annual Conference at Monterey, holds third Educational Summit.
Western Association of Educational Opportunity Personnel
To create and develop educational professionals who are able to advocate and provide educational opportunities for those who are underserved.