Stan Sigman Professorship, Scholarships Established at WT in Honor of Late Business Leader

Chip Chandler Apr 20, 2021
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Stan Sigman Professorship, Scholarships Established at WT in Honor of Late Business Leader

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — A “larger than life” businessman and major supporter of West Texas A&M University will be honored with a scholarship fund and endowed professorship following his death in December.

Former AT&T colleagues of the late Stan Sigman raised more than $200,000 in Sigman’s memory. Those donations were matched by funds from the Engler Foundation’s historic gift to the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business. The combined gift of $425,000 has established the Stan Sigman Scholarship Endowment and the Stan Sigman Endowed Professorship in Business, which will be filled by Dr. Jeffry Babb beginning in Fall 2021.

“Gifts to support people, students and faculty are vital investments for the University,” said Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice president for philanthropy and external relations. “WT is now in the quiet phase of a $125 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, and a major emphasis of the campaign will be on endowed professorships and scholarships as we continue to recruit, retain and reward students, faculty and staff who share in our vision.”

Students eligible for the scholarship must be full-time juniors, seniors or graduate students pursuing a degree in the Engler College of Business. They must be in good academic standing with a minimum 2.75 GPA for undergraduates or 3.5 GPA for graduate students, and display excellent leadership qualities aligned with Sigman’s values and those of the College of Business.

Beginning in Fall 2021, multiple annual scholarship awards between $4,000 and $8,000 are expected to be granted, one of the largest scholarship amounts available to business students.

More than 50 of Sigman’s former colleagues contributed to the endowments in recognition of the profound impact he made in their lives, said the men who led the drive, Mark Collins and Paul Roth.

“What these generous friends of Stan did is remarkable,” Rasberry said. “The hardest money to raise is in someone else’s name. The amount raised in Stan’s memory says a great deal about him and his friends.”

Collins, a former senior AT&T executive, said the impetus to give was “simple.”

“Stan did so much for all of us that we felt compelled to honor his legacy with something that would last in perpetuity, and benefit future generations of leaders,” Collins said.

Sigman was a 1970 WT graduate who worked his way up from a job in Southwestern Bell Telephone’s Hereford warehouse to the president and chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility, the nation’s largest wireless provider. He retired in 2007.

“It wasn’t uncommon that when Stan spoke at employee townhalls, someone would ask his story. He would talk about how he worked nights as a stockman, then packed and loaded trucks for what was then Southwestern Bell Telephone, but always, WT was the beginning of any story about how he became who he was,” said Roth, also a former senior AT&T executive.

Sigman was instrumental in the industry-shaking AT&T partnership with Apple’s iPhones, which allowed the telecommunications company to be the exclusive carrier of iPhones in the first years they were on the market.

“Apple saw an opportunity in the U.S. mobile market, so Steve Jobs went looking for a partner,” Roth said. “He had a vision that Stan shared, but it required each company to do something neither had done before — to make an enormous bet on a partner. Stan said publicly that he did not bet on Apple, he bet on Steve Jobs.”

That faith in people is what set Sigman apart — and it’s a quality Roth and Collins hope is passed on to future business leaders who get their start at WT.

“What made Stan really unique was that he saw more in people than they saw in themselves,” Roth said. “He saw someone’s potential and demanded that they reach it. I think he saw that kind of potential in WT, so we want us to help perpetuate that vision of producing another generation of leaders based on the principles and values that Stan possessed.”

Those “Friends of Stan” also have agreed to take part in a guest lecture series to supplement curriculum in the Engler College of Business.

“Stan was regarded as a visionary leader in business and a passionate mentor to countless successful women and men,” said Dr. Amjad Abudullat, dean of the Engler College of Business. “This very generous donation will help us train the next generation of leaders.”


Babb, who will assume his new role as the Sigman Endowed Professor of Business in Fall 2022, joined the Engler College of Business in 2009. He received a bachelor of arts in geography from the University of Hawaii in 1991, a master’s of urban and regional planning from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2000, a master of science in information systems from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005 and a Ph.D. in business and information systems from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009.

Babb teaches computer programming, software development, game development, web development and networking.

“The changes introduced via mobile computing are profound and mark how pervasive and ubiquitous computing has become such that it is now truly personal. A hallmark in this transformation is Stan Sigman’s leadership in providing the right level of access to the right innovation at the right time,” Babb said. “Today, we can recognize how indispensable the iOS ecosystem has been — particularly in the case of professional applications of mobile computing. In the accidents and essences that shape the diffusion of technical innovations, leadership is essential and was far from accidental.

“It is an honor to represent Stan Sigman’s legacy as recipient of the Stan Sigman Professorship,” Babb continued. “Whereas technical excellence and business acumen are foundational competencies exemplified by Stan, his leadership-by-example is the greatest virtue I hope to uphold via his namesake professorship.”

Sigman was named a WT’s Distinguished Alumni in 2007. The Stan and Gerry Sigman Foundation made one of the first major donations to the Agricultural Sciences Complex, providing the stimulus to complete the nearly $50 million research and educational facility. In addition, the Foundation established the Stan and Gerry Sigman professorship in Water Resources at WT in December; an announcement about the recipient of this professorship will be forthcoming.

The Sigman Foundation was honored as Outstanding Foundation in November by the Association of Fundraising Professionals — Texas Plains Chapter.

In 2017, he was part of the ownership group that purchased Ruidoso Downs in Ruidoso, N.M., and served as its chairman. Sigman operated the family ranch near Hondo under the name “Namgis,” which is Sigman spelled backwards, and bred and owned racing quarter horses.

Sigman is survived by wife Gerry Lynn; son, Spicer and wife Julie; daughters Lourdes Funes and Jodi Adams; and grandchildren Spicer Gripp II, Piper, Issac, Caleb, Stephan and Rilynn.

Endowed professorships and student scholarship funds are key components of 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, 40 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.