WT’s Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business and United Way: Giving Back to the Community and Preparing Future Leaders

Dec 15, 2020
  • Business
  • Featured

WT’s Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business and United Way: Giving Back to the Community and Preparing Future Leaders

Copy by Dr. Robert Allen King, 806-651-4002,


CANYON, Texas — The season of giving is upon us and, with the help of the United Way of Amarillo & Canyon, students in the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business are giving back to the community for the holidays.

With $10,000 in seed money, students were able to donate to four local organizations.

  • Family Support Services Crises Services – $4,000
  • 2-1-1 Texas Panhandle Helpline of the United Way of Amarillo & Canyon – $2,000
  • Buckner FYi Center – $2,000
  • Coalition of Health Services-Nurse Family Partnerships – $2,000

This new initiative is designed around creating a student-centered process for giving with the United Way by teaching students how to make philanthropic decisions that impact their community.

“Most students do not have substantial funds to donate to the United Way or other agencies,” said Dr. Amjad Abdullat, dean of the Engler College of Business. “Some students may have received assistance from an agency and they know what it means to receive a gift from others.

“With this project, we want to give our students the opportunity to participate in giving from the donor perspective.”

Even with social distancing constraints, student leaders from across the college were able to meet with Adam Leathers, United Way’s senior director of community impact, via Zoom where they were presented information on a selection of Panhandle programs.

Students were taught how to analyze this information and make their decisions based on criteria that are important to the Panhandle community and that continue the positive legacy of Paul Engler’s generous gift for students. Engler and the Engler Foundation have pledged $80 million to the University.

“All of the activities are designed to develop future leaders in our local community. We look forward to continuing this partnership with the United Way and persistently growing the giving spirit in the Panhandle with our efforts,” said Dr. Robert Allen King, director of graduate business programs.

Students were selected for their leadership roles across the college and their desire to give back to the community.

“It is my pleasure and honor to be part of the United Way project in the College of Business. The presentation impacted my heart to look for ways to make a change in this world. Small acts of kindness will help make a better future for us all,” said Yaneth Acosta, president of the Society for Human Resource Management and a graduate student from Hereford pursuing an MBA in management.

Other student leaders involved in the project include:

  • Jessie (JJ) Castillo, project manager for Enactus and a junior finance major from Amarillo;
  • Miguel Cuevas, director of marketing for the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and a senior marketing major from Juarez, Mexico;
  • Karlandria Edwards, president of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society and a senior management major from Amarillo;
  • Mason Pifer, president of Media Minds and a junior CIS major from Batavia, Ill.;
  • and Yaisiry Ramirez, vice president of the American Marketing Association and a graduate student from Brownsville pursuing an MBA in general business

A focus on community life is a key component to the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.


About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. With enrollment of more than 10,000, WT offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 38 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 15 men’s and women’s athletics programs.