Meet 2024 CCS Commencement Alumni Speaker Wes Fields ‘76 (CCS Literature)

April 19, 2024

Wes brings his interdisciplinary approach and humanistic spirit to the CCS Commencement on June 9

Wes Fields ‘76 (CCS Literature)
Wes Fields ‘76 (CCS Literature)

“While you are finding your own voices and staking out your breakthroughs, if you are listening to each other carefully and collaborating across disciplines, the answers we all need will take care of themselves.” 

—Wes Fields ‘76 (CCS Literature)

The College of Creative Studies (CCS) at UC Santa Barbara is delighted to announce its June 9, 2024 commencement speaker: Wes Fields ‘76 (CCS Literature). With a career spanning nearly four decades in emergency medicine and a lifelong passion for literature and interdisciplinary study and collaboration, Wes embodies the creative spirit of the College.

Whether treating patients in the emergency room or weaving together a narrative for his newest novel, Wes has found that cultural nuance and non-verbal keys are crucial to making connections and understanding the world around him—a skill he attributes to studying under Marvin Mudrick, the founding Provost of CCS. 

As a student of neuroscience, Wes emphasizes the importance of pattern recognition and the subtle interplay between memory, mood, social context, and bias. This outlook has guided him through 100,000 encounters as a healthcare professional and advocacy for better access, equity, and integration in policy circles and leading peer-reviewed journals. An associate clinical professor at University of California, Irvine (UCI), Wes also directed and chaired Vituity, the nation’s largest acute care partnership, and served in a variety of leadership roles in the American College of Emergency Medicine.  

Beyond the realm of healthcare, Dr. Fields has continued to write fiction as William Wesley, most recently his third novel, Concessions and Betrayals, based on his family’s legacy in the Middle East. As with his clinical methods, his narratives reflect his deep understanding of human nature, living systems, and his ability to uncover connections that others might miss.

“As we prepare to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2024, Wes Fields reminds us of the power of interdisciplinary collaboration, the importance of community, and the value of listening to one another’s stories. Join us in welcoming Wes Fields back to CCS as our commencement speaker as we celebrate the next generation of creative thinkers and innovators."

—Timothy Sherwood, CCS Interim Dean