West Texas A&M University

West Texas A&M University

name = West Texas A&M University

motto = Visio Veritas Valor
established = 1910
type = State university
endowment = US $18.9 millioncite web|url=http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/usnews/edu/college/directory/brief/drglance_3665_brief.php |title=USNews.com: America's Best Colleges 2008: West Texas A&M University: At a glance |accessdate=2008-06-12 |publisher=USNews ]
president= Dr. J. Patrick O’Brien
city = Canyon
state = Texas
country = USA
undergrad = 5,657
postgrad = 1,616
faculty = 350
free = N/A
free_label = Endowment
campus = Suburban, 135 acres (.5 km²)
nickname = Buffalo
colors = Maroon and white
website= [http://www.wtamu.edu/ www.wtamu.edu]

West Texas A&M University (also known as WTAMU, or WT, West Texas State), part of the Texas A&M University System, is a public university located in Canyon, Texas, a small city south of Amarillo. West Texas A&M opened on September 20, 1910. West Texas A&M University was originally called West Texas State Normal College and started out as one of the seven state-funded teacher colleges.


In the first school year, West Texas State Normal College had 152 students and 16 faculty members. Its first president was Robert B. Cousins. A year after the Texas State House of Representatives approved the bill to establish West Texas State Normal College, construction began on the school's Administration Building. It consisted of the school's only classrooms, laboratory, library, and offices. On March 25, 1914, the school burned down; however, classes continued in local churches, courthouses, and vacant buildings. Later, in 1916, a new Administration Building opened.

The first four-year college degrees were granted in 1919. In the following years the college was admitted to: American Association of Teachers Colleges in 1922, Association of Texas Colleges in 1923, and Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1925. The school changed its name to West Texas State Teachers College in 1923. In the early 1930s, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society built its Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum on the campus.

In 1948, a nonconformist leftist sociology professor, Joseph L. Duflot (1881–1957), created a sensation on campus when he told a meeting of the American Federation of Labor in Amarillo that "modern capitalism" is the "No. 1 enemy of the United States economy." A powerful legislator at the time, Sam Hanna of Dallas County, warned that state funding could be jeopardized for any college with "a communist" on the faculty. Though the West Texas regents first dismissed Duflot, he survived a second vote, and regent H.L. Mills praised him for "the courage of his convictions".Martin "Marty" Kuhlman, "The Red Scare at West Texas State", West Texas Historical Association, annual meeting, West Texas A&M University in Canyon, April 5, 2008]

Many returning veterans from World War II enrolled at the institution in the latter 1940s, taking advantage of new G.I. Bill of Rights assistance. Conditions were so overcrowed for a time that the former soldiers slept in the gymnasium, and beds were brought from a former Prisoner of War camp in Hereford.

In 1949, the school again changed its name, this time to West Texas State College. During the Cold War, attention at West Texas was focused on anti-communism. One history professor, John Cook, claimed that many of the films shown on campus, such as "Communism on the Map", were "propaganda". During this time too, J. Evetts Haley, Jr., then of Canyon, son of the historian J. Evetts Haley, ran for governor on a staunchly conservative platform.

During the 1960s, the school changed from a regional teacher's college to a state university. In 1963, the Texas Governor John Connally signed a bill to change the school's name to West Texas State University. The newly named school would gain a College of Arts and Sciences, a graduate school, and professional schools of business. Later, the school offered teacher education. Near the end of the 1960s, West Texas State obtained its own board of regents, established a School of Agriculture, a School of Fine Arts, and created a Department of Nursing.

By 1970, the student population neared 8,000; however, the school's enrollment was decreasing. The primary reasons were the changes in the selective service system and increases in tuition. The university's funding was largely enrollment-driven, and this caused serious financial problems for the school.

The college radio station KWTS began broadcasting in 1972. The West Texas State athletics were in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Missouri Valley Conference, but the school decided to change its status to Division II and the Lone Star Conference in 1984.

The university joined the Texas A&M University System on September 1, 1990, and started to use the name West Texas A&M University in 1993. The school's first president under the new system was Barry B. Thompson. Early in Thompson's tenure, he dropped the school's football program, but it would return a year later without a scholarship basis.

President Thompson was appointed Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System in 1994 and Russell C. Long became the new president. During Long's tenure, the school renovated buildings, maintained its student enrollment growth, and added its first Ph.D. in agriculture.

In late 2005, Long retired from his position as the school's president, replaced by J. Patrick O’Brien. As of 2006, West Texas A&M University has approximately 7,000 students. The university contains over 60 undergraduate-degree programs, 40 graduate-degree programs, and one doctoral program


The Administration Building is now called "Old Main." It went through a $5 million renovation beginning in February 1987. The Old Main building consist of four levels, and houses the administrative and enrollment management offices, as well as classrooms and laboratories. The Division of Education, the Department of History and Political Science, and the Division of Nursing are based in this building.The Classroom Center was built in 1968. The four-story building contains classrooms, computer and writing labs, and faculty offices. The College of Business and the Department of English and Modern Languages are located in the Classroom Center. The departments have been temporarily relocated due to extensive renovations of the Classroom Center.

Mary Moody Northern Hall accommodates music studios, dance studios, a public art gallery, recital hall, art studios, computer labs, and classrooms.

The Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, completed in September 2006, is the home of the Department of Music and Dance and Department of Art, Communication and Theatre. The facility houses music studios, music halls, theatre rooms, the school newspaper newsroom, a television studio, broadcast editing suites, and the student-run radio studios.

The Agriculture and Sciences Building was constructed in 1974. The three-story building houses the Division of Agriculture and the Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences. The building contains classrooms, laboratories, and faculty offices.

The Texas history museum, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum has been located on the campus of West Texas A&M University since the early 1930s.


West Texas A&M University's sports teams participate in the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference. Their athletic teams are nicknamed the Buffaloes or simply called the "Buffs." As of 2005, West Texas A&M University students compete in baseball, basketball, cross country, equestrian, football, golf, soccer, softball, and volleyball. The equestrian, softball, and volleyball teams are comprised of women only.

The football team plays its home games in Kimbrough Memorial Stadium, and they have won Lone Star Conference championships in 1986, 2005, 2006, and 2007. The school's football rival is Eastern New Mexico University which WTAMU plays for the coveted Wagon Wheel Trophy.

Notable faculty and alumni

*John Ayers, NFL American football player
*Tully Blanchard, professional wrestler
*Ulane Bonnel, naval historian
*Ted DiBiase, professional wrestler
*Candace Camp, author
*Maurice Cheeks, NBA basketball player and coach
*Larry Combest, politician
*Jesse Cross, US Army general
*Dory Funk Jr., professional wrestler
*Terry Funk, professional wrestler
*J. Evetts Haley, historian and political activist
*Stan Hansen, professional wrestler
*Alondra Johnson, Canadian Football League football player
*Steve Kragthorpe, college football head coach
*Reggie McElroy, NFL American football player
* Martin Kuhlman, history professor, who is penning the centennial history of WTA&M scheduled for 2010
*Jerry Logan, NFL American football player
*Mercury Morris, NFL American football player
*Georgia O'Keeffe, artist (faculty member)
*Kareem Larrimore, NFL American football player
*Ryan Leaf, NFL American football player and quarterbacks coach (faculty member)
*Anita Thigpen Perry, First Lady of Texas
*Donald Powell, former Chairman of the FDIC and Current Federal Coordinator of Gulf Coast Rebuilding
*Dusty Rhodes, professional wrestler
*Bruce Robison, hit country songwriter ("Travelin' Soldier", Angry All The Time, Desperately) and singer
*Bill Sarpalius, politician
*Marsha Sharp, women's basketball coach
*John T. Smithee, Texas state representative since 1985
*Tito Santana (Merced Solis), professional wrestler
*Red Steagall, country singer and Western poet
*French Stewart, actor
*Duane Thomas, NFL American football player
*Chaun Thompson, NFL American football player


*Handbook of Texas|id=WW/kcw3|name=West Texas A&M University. Accessed on October 8, 2005.
*cite web
author = West Texas A&M University
url = http://www.wtamu.edu/about/history/
title = University History
accessmonthday = February 18
accessyear = 2006

*cite web
author = West Texas A&M University
url = http://www.wtamu.edu/campus/map/
title = Campus Map
accessmonthday = February 18
accessyear = 2006

*cite web
author = Texas A&M University System
url = http://tamusystem.tamu.edu/news/releases/2006/2006_01_27_02.html
title = O’Brien Named Sole Finalist for West Texas A&M Presidency
accessdate =
accessyear =

External links

* [http://www.wtamu.edu/ West Texas A&M University website]
* [http://www.gobuffsgo.com/ West Texas A&M University athletics website]
* [http://tamus.edu/ The Texas A&M University System]

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