WT President Dr. Walter Wendler Reaches 3,000-Plus Newly Admitted Buffs

Chip Chandler May 24, 2021
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WT President Dr. Walter Wendler Reaches 3,000-Plus Newly Admitted Buffs

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University President Dr. Walter Wendler and his staff recently gained national attention for a new initiative that gave prospective new students a personalized welcome to the Buff family.

Wendler and his staff spent nearly 200 hours over two months recording more than 3,000 personalized, individual welcome videos for each student — whether enrolled or not — for the Fall 2021 semester. Wendler addressed each student by name and mentioned their major of choice in an attempt to provide a human connection to incoming students.

“Universities have become, in some ways, bureaucratic brick walls,” Wendler told Inside Higher Ed. “As you expose students to the university and talk about the institution and why they might be interested, I just think it’s got to be personal.”

“We hope if we do engage them, especially personally, that that will, in some ways, shed light on the difference between this part of Texas and some of the other parts,” Wendler told EdScoop. “I’m not being critical of any part of the state. It’s just that this is a different kind of culture up here. And everybody says it, you know. I’m just allowing it to influence how we approach our students and even our campus.”

The ambitious initiative found fans around the country.

“Who doesn’t like to be called by their first name and to be acknowledged with specific detail about one’s hometown or one’s major or the sport that one participates in?” Robert Massa, principal and co-founder of enrollment consulting firm Enrollment Intelligence Now, told Inside Higher Ed. “It does make a difference, no doubt about it.”

The video initiative follows in the wake of another personal outreach undertaken by Wendler: He spent nearly two years in 2017 and 2019 traveling almost 15,000 miles around the Texas Panhandle and the South Plains to speak to nearly 25,000 students at more than 130 high schools.

Serving the Panhandle and its heart and building undergraduate academic excellence are key maxims 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.