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


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

Alumnus Recognized as Regents Fellow

Dr. J. D. Ragland '90Dr. J.D. Ragland ’90, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agriculture and natural resources agent in Randall County, was recently named a Regents Fellow by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. He was recognized at a special reception and dinner Feb. 10 at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Ragland was one of eight agency service, extension or research professionals named a Regents Fellows for 2014-2015. The Regents Professor Awards program was established to recognize employees who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency and to the people of Texas.

“Dr. Ragland is held up as an example of how a county extension agent should operate,” said Brandon Dukes, AgriLife Extension district administrator, in a letter of recommendation. “He couples his work ethic with a marvelous ability to meet people and make people feel like they have known him forever. This allows him to be successful in all aspects of AgrLife Extension programming, both adult and youth.”

The WT alumnus has built an impressive career over the past 28 years, serving not only in Randall County, but also in Floyd and Castro counties as well. He is known for his leadership and knowledge in the areas of wheat, cotton, beef cattle and horticulture education and programming. His nomination praised his role in 4-H and his contributions through volunteer management and learning projects in livestock, livestock, livestock judging, horse, shooting sports, range management, leadership and citizenship. Numerous educational resources also are available, thanks to his efforts, and include everything from publications, presentations, result demonstrations, news articles and newsletters.

Congratulations to Dr. Ragland for this prestigious honor.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Named

Make plans now to attend the 53rd Annual Phoenix Banquet Saturday, April 30. Enjoy a great evening as we honor the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients—Brad Garner ’78, ’79, Mila Gibson ’66, ’69, Mike Mauldin ’78, and Michael Merriman ’77. Banquet festivities begin at 6 p.m. in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center, Legacy Hall.

Brad Garner ’78, ’79—A distinguished international flute soloist, Garner has performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. He is part of the flute faculty at The University of Cincinnati College—Conservatory of Music, Queens College, New York University and the Juilliard School of Music.

Mila Gibson ’66, ’69—A longtime supporter of the arts in the Texas Panhandle, Gibson has influenced generations of young performers as a faculty member at WT and Amarillo College. She is the founder of Amarillo Opera and currently serves as a board member of the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Mike Mauldin ’78—Recognized as a fair and honest banker, Mauldin currently serves as regional CEO and president of the Hereford region of First Financial Bank. His reputation in the banking industry has earned him another title—127th chairman of the Texas Bankers Association.

Michael Merriman ’77—Considered a consummate professional, Merriman is the go-to director for everything from music videos to national commercial campaigns. His talent is undeniable, his work ethic and integrity are well respected, and he has numerous awards to prove it.

O’Brien Announces Plans to Retire

J. Patrick O'BrienThe WT community was the first to hear of Dr. J. Patrick O’Brien’s plans to retire as the University’s 10th president when a late afternoon email was sent out to faculty, staff and students on Thursday, Feb. 24. He will continue his duties as president through the first of the summer.

The email, in part, read, “Karen and I have decided that I will retire at the end of this academic year,” O’Brien said. “We have grown to love WT and cherish our association with WT students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. The University will always fill a special place in our hearts, and I thank everyone with whom I have worked.”

O’Brien, who has more than four decades in higher education, was named WT’s president in February 2006. During his 10-year tenure, WT has experienced many changes in the campus landscape as well as tremendous growth in enrollment numbers. National recognition in academics, athletics and rankings also highlight his time at WT.

“Pat O'Brien has been a great university president, not only for West Texas A&M but for Texas. His administrative skills have produced not only a beautiful campus, but one filled with incredible students and an outstanding faculty and staff,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “He has been a key leader among the 11 university presidents in the Texas A&M System and has helped guide us all to national prominence. Award after award has been given to West Texas A&M because of his strong leadership, which has made his University the best in so many categories. All of us wish Pat and Karen the very best of what life has to offer, and we shall miss them both.”

No details on the search process have been announced at this time.

New Coordinator for Regional Development Named

Amber Bustos ’11, ’15, Amber Bustos '11, '15has been named the Alumni Association’s new coordinator for regional development and will be working to reconnect alumni around the country. She brings experience to the position after serving the past 10 months as the Alumni Association’s special projects intern. She fills the position vacated by J. Rich Sparks, who now serves as development officer for the School of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics. Bustos grew up in Amarillo and made WT home after earning two degrees here in just four years.

“My favorite thing about WT is that it feels like home and the connections you make run deep. With regional development I want to bring that feeling to a city near you as we get alumni together to reconnect. I look forward to meeting everyone and am excited about the things we will be collaborating on in the future.”

Bustos hopes alumni near and far will join in as the Alumni Association continues to grow and expand its reach. Connect with Bustos at abustos@wtamu.edu or at 806-651-2650.

From the Director


Dear Buff Family:

Becky Stogner photo

February has typically been a relatively quiet month in our office. Not this year. There were at least eight events we had a part in, with attendance ranging from 10 to 300 alumni. It’s clear our engagement efforts are paying off. WT alumni—including those who are online-only students—are coming out to socialize, network and get connected to other alumni in their city. What’s most exciting is the enthusiasm of our alumni to get to know one another. Buffalo Pride is strong and spreads far beyond Canyon.

And this just in—we are excited to be a part of the first-ever off-campus West Texas A&M University commencement. This first-time event is scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, May 21 at the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine, and we hope our online graduates who can’t make the trip to WT commencement in Canyon the week before will make an effort to attend in Dallas. An all-alumni reception will follow. More information to come on that, but mark your calendars—May 21 will be a great Buff day in the Big D.

Be sure to check out the great photos from some of this month’s activities. Whether it’s Colorado, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth or right here at home, WT alumni are the best.

Becky Stogner
bstogner@wtamu.edu

Colorado Alumni Event

Shawn Early ’02, WT alumnus and director of marketing for Pepsi, welcomed alumni and friends to the Pepsi Suite for the Feb. 4 Avalanche vs. Stars hockey game. Pictured, front row, Dana and Ron Ebenkamp ’71, Mason Wright and Meghan Hardin ’14, Becky Stogner. Middle row, Chris Reed ’04, Shawn Early ’02, Steve and Karleen Stratton ’81, Robin Hoskins ’09, McKenzie Jackson ’15 and Jennifer Hensley ’09. Back row, Scott Southwell, Dave Coffman ’02, Tim Stogner, Jeremiah Oldham ’01, Kristie Wages and Brendan Wills. Not picture is Floyd Bilderback ’77.

Shawn Early ’02, WT alumnus and director of marketing for Pepsi, welcomed alumni and friends to the Pepsi Suite for the Feb. 4 Avalanche vs. Stars hockey game. Pictured, front row, Dana and Ron Ebenkamp ’71, Mason Wright ’14 and Meghan Hardin, Becky Stogner. Middle row, Chris Reed ’04, Shawn Early ’02, Steve and Karleen Stratton ’81, Robin Hoskins ’09, McKenzie Jackson ’15 and Jennifer Hensley ’09. Back row, Scott Southwell, Dave Coffman ’02, Tim Stogner, Jeremiah Oldham ’01, Kristie Wages and Brendan Wills. Not pictured is Floyd Bilderback ’77.


Fort Worth Event

WT alumni who gathered for the Fort Worth event in February included David Rattan ’82, Manessa Grisham and Jay Grisham ’02.

WT alumni who gathered for the Fort Worth event in February included David Rattan ’82, Manessa Grisham and Jay Grisham ’02.

Fort Worth alumni event


Houston Top Golf Alumni Event


Houston alumni gathering Feb. 18 for some Top Golf fun include David McReynolds ’78, Kate Brandt, online student, Matt Brandt, Mayank Rao, online student, Ryan McReynolds ’04, Becky Stogner, Travis Hager ’98, TraMicah Young ’13, Jaime Bermudez ’15, Aaron Marshall and Jamie Marshall ’04.

Houston alumni gathering Feb. 18 for some Top Golf fun include David McReynolds ’78, Kate Brandt, online student, Matt Brandt, Mayank Rao, online student, Ryan McReynolds ’04, Becky Stogner, Travis Hager ’98, TraMicah Young ’13, Jaime Bermudez ’15, Aaron Marshall and Jamie Marshall ’04.

Upcoming Events

March 3-5
Everyone is welcome to join us before the LSC games in Allen on March 3, 4 and 5.

Thursday's Pre-game event
Kelly’s AT THE VILLAGE Craft Tavern—across the street from the Allen Event Center
6:30 – 8 p.m. (game time 8:30)
190 Stacy Road, Suite 1204, Allen 75002 

Visit BuffAlum.com for details.

March 5
Top Golf, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Allen.
$42 per person, includes two hours of Top Golf and the Southern Selection buffet.
Visit BuffAlum.com/AllenTopGolf for more information and to register.

Wellington Old Timers basketball tournament, 9 a.m., Wellington.
Brisket wraps and basketball, proceeds benefit the West Texas Skyrockets to Buffs Scholarship Fund. Visit “WTAMU—Wellington Alumni Chapter” Facebook page.

March 31
President’s Circle “Texas Wild” event, 5-7 p.m., Mack Dick Pavilion, Palo Duro Canyon State Park

April 13
Grad’s Guide to Life—Things to Know Before You Go
Sessions for students on important life topics. Make sure the Buffs in your life know about this fun and beneficial afternoon.

April 30
Annual Phoenix Banquet honoring 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

May 13
Spring Ring Ceremony, 4 p.m., Legacy Hall

May 14
Spring Commencement, 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., First United Bank Center

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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