The Jesse W. West Research Endowment is intimately tied to the Pond Boss magazine and forum. It honors the life of Jesse W. West, a Mississippian and professor of geology. While teaching geology “summer camp” in the west, including Colorado, California, and the Black Hills (one of his favorite geologic places), he developed a love of the area and its people, which he shared with his family. His interest in lands and waters and all they provided led to many trips with his family to study and behold the Earth’s majesty through fishing and hunting. He often encouraged and reminded others, as did Winston Churchill, that “we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” His strong belief in helping others along their journey in applied science is the cornerstone of Jesse's endowment.
The endowment was initiated by a donation from Jesse's son, Eric West. Since that time, Pond Boss members have donated individually and through the proceeds from the silent auction at the annual conference. The interest on the endowment is used to fund worthy projects. The 2007 award was used to purchase viewing tanks to study walleye-smallmouth bass feeding interactions. The 2008 award was used to help study a potential nonlethal technique for distinguishing fish food habits from fin clips, rather than from muscle samples. The 2009 award was used to study fingerling stocking rates for largemouth bass in South Dakota ponds.