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COESS Graduates of Distinction

Each year, we honor distinguished graduates of the College of Education and Social Sciences because of their demonstrated, unselfish commitment to a lifetime of service, their personal character, and the significant contributions they have made to their professions, their families, and their communities and the resulting honor they have brought to the University. Recipients of the award are selected from nominations submitted to a committee composed of faculty members from each department in the college. For information or to submit a nomination, please contact Dr. Eddie Henderson ehenderson@wtamu.edu at 806-651-2603.

The following individuals have been recognized as Distinguished Graduates of the College:

Jimmy Wales Adams

  • WTAMU Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences - 1976
  • WTAMUs Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies - 2000
  • Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas at Sam Houston State University
  • Instructor in Law Enforcement - Certified Public Manager Texas Tech University
  • Master Peace Officer license, a Master Jailer certification, and Forensic Hypnosis Examiner certification
  • Probation Officer for Potter County and as a Municipal Judge for the City of Wheeler
  • Distinguished service to the Amarillo Police Department, and as Sherriff of Wheeler County, Texas, for 16 years and as Chief of Police of Borger, Texas from 2004 until his retirement in 2013

 

Jane Anderson

  • WTSU Bachelor of Science in Social Work - 1974
  • WTSU Master of Arts in Sociology - 1977 
  • Executive Director of the Youth Center of the High Plains and Next Step Home
  • Chief Juvenile Probation Officer - Randall County

 

Barbara Bain

  • WTAMU Bachelor of Science in Education - 1960
  • Taught elementary school including 12 years in the Perryton I.S.D. and 13 years in Dimmitt I.S.D.
  • Board of Trustees Dimmitt I.S.D. for 9 years
  • Teacher of the Year-Dimmitt I.S.D. and Citizen of the Year in Perryton and Dimmitt, Texas
  • District President, 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President of the Retired Teachers Association
  • WTAMU Distinguished Alumnus Award - 2006
  • WTAMU Pinnacle Award - 2008
  • WTAMU Legacy Award - 2009
  • Instrumental in the development of The First United Bank Center and the Bain Athletic Complex and numerous scholarships including the Barbara Bain Scholarship in Education

 

Clifford Boyd Baker

  • WTAMU Bachelor of Science - 1959
  • WTAMU Master of Education - 1964
  • WTAMU Associate Director of Financial Aid: WTAMU Director of Financial Aid - 1970-1985
  • Established the Panhandle-Plains Higher Education Authority - 1979
  • WTAMU Distinguished Alumnus -2002

 

Dr. Lisa Garza

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - 1985
  • Masters of Education in Counseling - 1987
  • WTAMU Associate Professor of Sociology
  • WTAMU Assistant Department Head - Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work
  • Chair of the Department of Sociology, Regis University
  • Regis University Faculty Member of the Year in 2005 & 2006
  • Board Member of Adelante Mujer

 

Diann Elliston Gilmore

  • WTSU Bachelor of Arts in Social Work - 1974
  • Executive Director - Downtown Women’s Center
  • Founding Member - Amarillo Coalition for the Homeless and the Tyler Street Resource Center
  • 1996 Women’s Distinguished Service Award
  • 2005 Beta Sigma Phi Woman of the Year
  • 2008 Globe-News Woman of the Year

 

Selden B. Hale III

  • WTSU Bachelor of Science - 1965
  • Doctor of Jurisprudence - St. Mary’s University 
  • Criminal Trial Lawyer
  • 1992-1993 Chairman-Board of Directors Texas Department of Criminal Justice
  • Instrumental in Establishment of Texas Tech University School of Pharmacy
  • Established Texas Punishment Standards Commission
  • Established Prison Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program

 

Jack Hayward

  • Master of Arts in Counseling - 2006
  • Past Chairman of First State Bank - Elkhart, KS
  • Texas Silver-Haired Legislator
  • WTAMU Pinnacle Award - 2012
  • Kappa Kappa Psi - Spirit Award - 1998
  • Golden Nail Award- 2012

 

Dr. Travis McBride

  • WTSU Bachelor of Arts in Government & History- 1957
  • WTSU Master of Arts in Government, Economics & History - 1958
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science & Economics - University of Oklahoma - 1967
  • WTSU Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science from 1957-1986
  • WTAMU Professor Emeritus

 

Steven McCraw 

  • WTSU Bachelor of Science in Political Science -1979
  • WTSU Master of Arts - 1981 
  • Director-Texas Department of Public Safety
  • 2004-2009 Director-Texas Homeland Security
  • 1983-2004 Special Agent-Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • 1977-1983 Texas Highway Patrol Trooper and Narcotics Investigator

  

Sharon Miner

  • Bachelor of Science in Political Science - 1998
  • District Director and Personal Assistant for Senator Teel Bivins - 1997-2009
  • Amarillo Area Foundation Board of Directors
  • Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch ISD School Board of Directors
  • Community Leader

 

Pearlene Grayson Martin

  • WTAMU - Master’s in Education - 1966
  • Professional Librarian Certificate - Texas Women’s University
  • Classroom teacher in the first through sixth grades, an elementary school Reading Specialist, a middle school English teacher, a teacher of Gifted and Talented children, and an elementary school media specialist
  • Past-president of the Amarillo Branch of the NAACP - 1989-1994
  • NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award - 2006
  • Texas Governor’s Exceptional and Distinguished Volunteer Service Award - 1981
  • Community service to Jenkins Baptist Church since 1958, the YMCA, Catholic Family Service of Amarillo, Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts of America, the City of Amarillo Zoning Board of Adjustment, Friends of the Library, Amarillo Library Board, Amarillo Center City Advisory Board, the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission, Panhandle Aids Support Organization, the Don Harrington Discovery Center, the Amarillo Little Theater, the Amarillo Museum of Art and the Amarillo Opera

 

Helen Neal

  • Bachelor of Science in Education - 1962
  • Retired Elementary School Teacher
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Member
  • Community Leader and Philanthropist

 

Helen Piehl

  • WTSU Bachelor of Business Administration in Secretarial Business - 1971
  • President and CEO - Western Sales, Inc.
  • President WTAMU Foundation Board of Directors
  • WTAMU Old Main Society Pinnacle Award - 2011
  • WTAMU Women’s Council Board of Directors
  • Secretary to the Texas State 4-H Youth Development Foundation

  

Gary Pitner

  • Bachelor of Science in Public Administration - 1978
  • Executive Direct of Panhandle Regional Planning Commission - 1977-Present
  • AL J. Notzon Award - 1996
  • Outstanding Public Administrator Award - 2011
  • Board of Downtown Amarillo, Inc.
  • President of Amarillo Local Government Corporation
  • Community Leader and Philanthropist

  

Donald E. Powell

  • WTSU Bachelor of Science in Economics - 1963 
  • Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University
  • President and CEO of The First National Bank of Amarillo
  • Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 2001-2005
  • Federal Coordinator of Gulf Coast Rebuilding 2005-2008

 

Myrna Raffkind

  • WTAMU Master of Arts in Psychology - 1988
  • WTAMU Master of Arts in Sociology - 1995
  • WTAMU Faculty in Psychology and Sociology 1985-1998
  • WTAMU Foundation Board of Directors
  • 2008 Beta Sigma Phi Woman of the Year
  • 2007 Women’s Distinguished Service Award


Geneva Schaeffer
  • WTSU Bachelor of Science in Social Studies
  • Community Leader and Philanthropist
  • WTAMU Foundation Board of Directors 1994-2002
  • WTAMU Old Main Society Pinnacle Award - 2005
  • 2006 Outstanding Philanthropist - Association of Fundraising Professionals

     

Rod Schroder

  • WTSU Bachelor of Science in Mathematics - 1972
  • WTSU Master of Science in Mathematics and Physics - 1975
  • Certifications in Educational Leadership 
  • Superintendent of the Amarillo Independent School District since 2000
  • 2009 President-Elect - Texas School Alliance

 

Marsha Sharp 

  • WTSU Master of Education - 1976
  • Head Coach Emeritus-Texas Tech University
  • 1982-2006 Head Coach-Texas Tech University Lady Raiders
  • 1993 & 1994 National Coach of the Year
  • Seven-Time SWC/Big 12 Coach of the Year
  • 2003 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
  • 1999 Texas Women’s Hall of Fame & 2000 Texas Sports Hall of Fame   

 

Jane Jackson Stephens

  • WTAMU Bachelor of Arts in History - 1964
  • WTAMU Master of Arts in Counseling - 1981
  • Canyon I.S.D. -Director of Secondary Curriculum
  • Canyon I.S.D. - Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
  • Canyon I.S.D. - Acting Superintendent
  • Canyon I.S.D. - Board of Trustees
  • Jane Stephens Student-Teacher Fund in her memory

 

J. Pat Stephens

  • WTSU Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education - 1960
  • WTSU Master of Arts in Government - 1962
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration - University of Missouri - 1970
  • WTAMU Professor and Public Administration Program Director 1969 - 1998
  • Canyon City Commissioner 1973 - 1997
  • WTAMU Professor Emeritus

 

Claudia D. Stravato

  • WTSU Bachelor of Science in Political Science - 1974
  • WTSU Master of Arts in Political Science -1978
  • Deputy Comptroller of Texas 1983 - 1990
  • Chief of Staff to the Lt. Governor of Texas 1991 - 1993
  • 1994 Woman of the Year - Executive Women in Texas Government
  • 2005 Award Recipient - Women Making a Difference in the Texas Panhandle
  • WTAMU Adjunct Faculty

 

Jimmie H. Vaughn

  • WTSU Bachelor of Science in Education - 1972
  • Graduate of the United States Army War College - 2009
  • Senior Strategic Human Resources Advisor
  • National Security Professional
  • Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy
  • Media Spokesperson-American Forces Network, Europe