West Texas A&M University Alumni Association eNewsletter
West Texas A&M University
Alumni Association eNewsletter
June 2016

West Texas A&M University Alumni Association eNewsletter - Let's Catch Up, BuffAlum.com

Ones to Watch

JJ Walker CaweltiShe earned two degrees from West Texas A&M University, and JJ Walker Cawelti '03, '09 has definitely put them to good use. Cawelti, who holds a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness and a master’s in business administration, currently serves as the senior manager of corporate communications and community relations for Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth.

Her leadership skills were evident as a young college student from Albuquerque, N.M. She was an individual national champ on the WT horse judging team and a member of WT’s national championship equestrian team. Plus, the Department of Agriculture recognized her as its Outstanding Senior, and the Agriculture Executive Association named her Student of the Year. After earning her master’s degree, Cawelti joined the staff in the University’s Office of Communication and Marketing, where she took on the duties of event coordinator. She soon was promoted to the development officer for the College of Business and it didn’t take long for Bell Helicopter to recognize her worth. She left WT to work for Bell Helicopter in Amarillo.

Officials in Fort Worth quickly recruited Cawelti to their Bell location, and today she serves as the principal communications adviser to the president and CEO as well as members of the executive leadership team. During her time there, Cawelti has made quite an impact not only at Bell, but in the community as well. Just a few of her Bell accomplishments include:

  • Led campaigns to pass significant legislation in Louisiana and Texas that generated new incentives tools for the states to recruit aerospace companies while also offering much more competitive environments for those companies to operate in.

  • Texas Freeport Exemption – Served as the aviation and aerospace industry lead/spokesperson alongside chambers and trade associations to pass legislation that extended the Freeport Exemption for aerospace inventory and ultimately changed the Texas Constitution. The successful campaign saved hundreds of Texas aerospace jobs that were scheduled to be relocated to other states and provided individual communities in Texas with an optional tool to use for recruiting and retaining aerospace companies. The legislation allows Texas Aerospace companies to be more competitive in a global market.

  • Louisiana Fly-Away Provisions—Built and led a legislative program from the ground up to pass legislation that paved the way for the first ever final delivery aerospace operation in the state. Successfully led the team to passage of a fly-away tax exemption in the state as well as a reduction in use and margins taxes for helicopter operators. The important provisions allow for new aerospace businesses to operate in the state, protect customers from possible double taxation and added hundreds of jobs and the potential for more in the future. The campaign was recognized with an International Business Stevie Award.

In addition to her busy work schedule, Cawelti still finds time for community involvement. She has served on boards for the Forth Worth Chamber of Commerce, Texas Association of Manufacturers, Aviation and Aerospace Alliance, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, HEB Chamber of Commerce and the WT Foundation. Other volunteer work includes United Way, March of Dimes, 6 Stones, Habitat for Humanity and Plaid for Women. Honors include “Woman to Watch” and “Emerging Careerist” by Texas Business Women.

Cawelti and her husband Chris live in Keller and are parents to four children.

Nominations Being Accepted for Communication Hall of Fame

If you know an outstanding alumni who graduated in 2011 or earlier from the WT communication studies, speech communication or mass communication programs, please consider nominating them for the Communication Hall of Fame. Honorees will be recognized at the Communication Hall of Fame banquet Oct. 21 at WT.

The Communication Hall of Fame was an idea first proposed by the late Dr. Leigh Browning as a way to honor the outstanding contributions of graduates in the Department of Communication. Since its inauguration in 2013, 12 communication alumni have been inducted.

Nomination criteria and forms can be found on the Communication Hall of Fame website. Deadline for submitting nominations is July 15. All nomination forms should be emailed to Dr. Trudy Hanson at thanson@wtamu.edu.

Let’s Play Some Football

It may be summer, but there is still plenty of football action at WT with a full schedule of camps along with a 7on7 Tournament for area varsity and JV players.

Football camps begin June 17 with a Skills Development Camp for grades 7-12. A Summer Combine Camp is set for June 18 for grades 11-12, and youth day camps for grades 1-6 are set for June 20 and June 21.

Area football players are invited to participate in the WT 7on7 Tournament from 5:30-9 p.m. Monday nights June 27, July 11 and July 18 at WT.

Teams will be comprised of varsity and JV players—18 per team. The round robin play will take place on the WT practice fields June 27 and July 11 and at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium for the final game on July 18. A trophy will be presented to the overall winner. Cost is $300 per team.

For more information about camps or the tournament, contact Mike Nesbitt, WT’s head football coach, at 806-651-4423 or John Hasse, assistant athletic director at 806-651-2766.

From the Director

Dear Buff Family:

Becky Stogner photo

The end of the academic year brings a mass exodus of college-age students, then come the summer campers and enthusiasm of vacations and reunions. At the Alumni Association it seems a little more laid back, but we’re not any less busy. We’re excited to be working on several alumni chapter events. Watch buffalum.com for more information on events in San Antonio, Boerne, Austin, Dallas and more.

I’m pleased to report that the first-ever commencement ceremony and alumni reception for online-only students went well. With more than 2,000 online-only students, WTAMU is committed to serving this population in ways that fit their unique needs as ‘distance education’ students. More than 150 guests shared the afternoon with us as 11 graduates proudly crossed the stage to receive their diploma at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Dallas. 

Another thing you won’t want to miss: be watching for the Buff Box later this summer. It’s your opportunity to give a gift and note of encouragement to a student in your old dormitory. Share one of your favorite memories and let us deliver a care package with treats and trinkets to start their year off right.   

As always, watch buffalum.com for events and activities in your area. 

Becky Stogner

2016 Phoenix Banquet

Distinguished alumni group photo featuring (from left to right) Mike Mauldin, Michael Merriman, Mila Gibson, Bradley A. Garner

The 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are from left to right Mike Mauldin ’78, Michael Merriman ’77, Mila Gibson ’66, ’69, and Bradley Garner ’78, ’79.

Bradley Garner and Cody Myers with their friends

The Phoenix Banquet offered opportunities for catching up for Linda ’77, ’78 and Bradley ’78, ’79 Garner and Cody ’79, ’87 and Starla ’80 Myers.

Jack ’06 and Helene Hayward ’02, ’08 enjoyed the evening’s festivities.

Jack ’06 and Helene Hayward ’02, ’08 enjoyed the evening’s festivities.

Hary Haines and Dr. Robert Hansen

Dr. Harry Haines, Professor Emeritus of Music, visits with Dr. Bob Hansen, director of the WT School of Music.

Dallas Commencement for Online Students

Students walk up to the stage.

Students standing waiting to receive their diploma

Friends and families of graduates gather together.

Fort Worth Gathering

Fort Worth gathering

It was a night of catching up for WT alumni in Fort Worth on Wednesday, June 8. Pictured clockwise from bottom left Jim Edd Wines, Chris Biddy, Jim Cox, Mark Young, Steven Noblett, David Rattan and Lee Ann Rattan.

Upcoming Events

June 21
Hill Country Happening, 5:30 p.m., 20nine Restaurant and Wine Bar, San Antonio

June 22
Hill Country Happening, 6 p.m., The Creek Restaurant, Boerne

June 23
Hill Country Happening, 6-8 p.m., Shady Grove, Austin

Visit BuffAlum.com for updates on upcoming events in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and more.

Visit the University calendar for a complete schedule of campus events.
Visit gobuffsgo for complete schedule of WT athletic events.


WTAMU Alumni Association 102 N 25th Street, Canyon TX 79016
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