Stanley Schaeffer to be Awarded Honorary Doctorate at WT Spring Commencement

Chip Chandler May 05, 2021
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Stanley Schaeffer to be Awarded Honorary Doctorate at WT Spring Commencement

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas —Prominent regional businessman and philanthropist Stanley Schaeffer will be awarded an honorary doctorate May 8 by his alma mater, West Texas A&M University.

Schaeffer will be presented an honorary doctorate of business administration during the second of three outdoor, in-person commencement ceremonies at Buffalo Stadium on WT’s Canyon campus. WT will host commencement ceremonies at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. May 8 in Buffalo Stadium.

“Stanley has been central to the shaping of the Texas Panhandle’s University, West Texas A&M,” said President Dr. Walter Wendler. “His values and vision align with the long-range plan, WT 125, and we are grateful for his commitment and contributions. Stanley’s wife, Geneva, was likewise committed to the Texas Panhandle and higher education. The Schaeffers’ legacy in this region is legendary, and Stanley’s commitment is absolutely remarkable.”

“Stanley Schaeffer is a quintessential West Texas leader,” said Dr. Neil Terry, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs. “He is a genuine person who is also widely respected for his business acumen and commitment to philanthropy.”

“Stanley’s extraordinary legacy shines brightly among Engler College of Business alumni,” said Dr. Amjad Abdullat, dean of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business. “Stanley is an influential leader in our community who makes a difference in a significant number of lives.”

Honorary degrees offer the University opportunity to recognize excellence in the fields of public affairs, the sciences, humanities and the arts, scholarship and education, business and philanthropy and social services with significant and lasting contributions to community.

“It’s very humbling,” Schaeffer said. “Attending WT changed my life, and now to receive an honorary doctorate from a university that I love is an honor I do not take lightly.”

Born in Happy and raised in Canyon, Schaeffer, 87, earned a bachelor of business administration from WT in 1955, then earned his MBA in 1970. He worked as a certified public accountant for 48 years in Dimmitt, where he was named Citizen of the Year in 1985.

In 1987, Schaeffer joined with a small group of investors and Ray Bain to purchase First State Bank of Dimmitt, which became known as First United Bank in 1994. Today, the bank has expanded to 15 locations across 11 West Texas cities; Schaeffer currently serves as Director Emeritus.

Through the years, Schaeffer has been involved in a broad range of business activities including banking, financial and investment capital, oil and gas, cable television, manufacturing, real estate, cattle feedlot, grain elevator, farming, and ranching.

Schaeffer has served on various boards related to private industry, community service and public foundations. He has served on the WTAMU Foundation Board and was named WT Distinguished Alumni in 2004. He also received the first Pinnacle Award in 2005 and the inaugural First Choice Award from the Department of Agricultural Sciences in 2003.

He received a 1998 Golden Nail Award for his dedication to the arts by the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce. In 2006, he was honored with the Outstanding Philanthropist Award for the Texas Panhandle area.

In 1951, after graduating from Canyon High School, Schaeffer married the late Dr. Geneva Gressett Schaeffer, who was awarded an honorary doctorate of philosophy from WT’s College of Education and Social Sciences in 2016. They were married for 65 years, until her death in 2016, and are the parents of three children — Jackie, David and Jerry.

Schaeffer’s life and career reflect the regional values to which WT aspires, as laid out in 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.