WTAMU Announces Engler Gift as Largest in University History

Nov 17, 2017
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WTAMU Announces Engler Gift as Largest in University History

Gift Granted Naming Rights to Two Colleges


CANYON, Texas—Officials at West Texas A&M University today announced its largest gift in the University’s 107-year history. Paul Engler and the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation have agreed to donate at least $1 million a year for a period of no less than 80 years to the institution. In response, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has granted naming rights to the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business.

"West Texas A&M University is the lifeblood of the Texas Panhandle," John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, said. "An investment in this institution is an investment in the future of the region. What an honor it is to become part of the legacy of Paul Engler, a man whose true grit and entrepreneurial spirit has transformed an entire industry."

Engler, on behalf of the Foundation, said he appreciates the University for its acceptance of the gift and its offer to name the respective colleges honoring his name. He also praised the overall institutional quality of the respective colleges and the leadership Dr. Terry and Dr. Hawkins demonstrate on a daily basis.

The generous gift represents at least $500,000 a year into the foreseeable future for both the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business. In addition, the college deans, Dr. Neil Terry and Dr. Dean Hawkins, will work with the Engler Foundation to distribute contributions for endowments to benefit five different areas—scholarships, professorships, named spaces, community outreach, and strategic planning/improvement. The implicit impact of the gift is further enhanced by the Engler Foundation’s willingness to encourage others to invest in the respective colleges via a strategy of offering matching funds to donors establishing new scholarship, professorship, and program innovation endowments. 

"We are extremely grateful to Paul Engler and the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation for their generosity and willingness to invest in the future of the College of Business," Dr. Neil Terry, dean of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, said. "Paul Engler is the greatest business leader I have ever had the pleasure to befriend. He exemplifies a combination of work ethic, business acumen and resolve that captures the entrepreneurial spirit of the West Texas regional community. A truly inspirational philanthropist dedicated to empowering individuals through education, the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business will forever recognize a legacy of transformative support."

Paul Engler is the perfect example of a self-made man who has found success in the cattle industry. The Nebraska native’s business skill started at an early age when he purchased his first herd of cattle at the age of 12. He used the proceeds from cattle sales to fund his college education, and he graduated in 1948 from the University of Nebraska with a degree in agriculture. By 1960, he was the founder/owner/operator of the Hereford Feedyard, establishing the Texas Panhandle as a force in the cattle industry. Under his leadership, Cactus Feeders became the largest cattle-feeding company in the world. A pioneer of the Texas cattle-feeding industry, Engler has received numerous honors and recognition throughout his career, which include induction into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame and the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.

The Paul F. And Virginia J. Engler Foundation is a family endeavor and reflects the love of family and the communities Paul and Virginia serve, including the Texas Panhandle. The late Virginia 'Jinx’ Joan Kreycik Engler was a dedicated philanthropist throughout her life. She loved helping people and shared her kindness and generosity with everyone she met. That generosity and kindness provided the groundwork in helping the community through their foundation.  Commitment to higher education in the region is not new for the Engler Foundation, as generations of emerging business leaders at West Texas A&M University have benefitted from the long-established Virginia Engler Scholarship.

"This is an exciting time for our college and our students," Dr. Dean Hawkins, dean of the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, said. "With the construction of our new ag complex and the gift from Paul, the college is in a position to provide the best in educational opportunities as well as financial support to our students than ever before. We are very grateful for Paul’s generosity and excited about the future of agriculture at WTAMU."

The impact of the Engler Foundation commitment to West Texas A&M University is recognized by alumni and faculty as a vehicle to significantly enhance higher education in the region.

"I am more than honored to have Paul Engler as a personal friend and as a friend of West Texas A&M University," Stanley Schaeffer, distinguished alumnus, said. "Paul is a true visionary with the instinct and ability to recognize an opportunity or need and put the forces into motion to bring that vision to a successful conclusion. Through the years I have watched him as a pioneer in establishing the cattle feeding industry in our area and later forming a cattle-feeding company that became the largest in the world. He also is very concerned about our area and the people within it.  Having Paul Engler’s name and legacy associated with West Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the College of Business is an enduring recognition he so richly deserves." 

"Paul Engler has been a driver of economic development in the Texas Panhandle for 50 years," Dr. Ty Lawrence, professor of animal science, said. "First with Hereford Feedyard, then IBP in Amarillo, followed by the cattle empire of Cactus Feeders. Paul is now leaving his mark on West Texas A&M University with an unparalleled legacy."

The West Texas A&M University association with Paul Engler and Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation not only enhances the educational opportunities for students, but also elevates the reputation and prestige of the University. Consonant with the mission of WTAMU, the spirit of the Paul and Virginia Engler Foundation exemplifies the impact one can have on a community through hard work, a willingness to lead, a commitment to generosity and a determination to succeed.

"My time in the Texas Panhandle has taught me quite a bit about the Panhandle culture, and Paul Engler is a great ambassador of that," Dr. Walter Wendler, WTAMU president, said. "A handshake has some meaning here, and I believe Paul has built a large measure of success with his handshake. It’s a sign of commitment, and Paul has earned a great deal of respect for it.  He’s certainly won mine."

The naming of the two colleges goes into effect immediately.