New Professorship at WT Designed to Improve Virtual Instruction

Chip Chandler Feb 02, 2022
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New Professorship at WT Designed to Improve Virtual Instruction

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas —Amarillo couple Lanna and Bob Hatton are once again demonstrating their passion for educating educators by endowing a new professorship at West Texas A&M University.

The Hattons established a major endowment fund in December 2020 for the WT Department of Education, one of the early gifts in the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Now, the Hattons have given an additional $125,000 to fund the Lanna and Bob Hatton Professorship in Education.

The priority of this professorship is to support teaching and research related to virtual instruction and learning, said Dr. Eddie Henderson, dean of WT’s College of Education and Social Sciences.


Photo: Lanna and Bob Hatton

The Hattons graduated high school in Amarillo before attending Texas Tech University and living around the country, moving several times with Bob Hatton’s job with Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. Lanna Hatton earned a master’s degree in learning disability and behavioral disorders and taught in several schools before the couple returned to Amarillo in 2001.

“Even though there have been rapid advances in education’s use of computers and other technology since Lanna was teaching, the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that kindergarten-through-12th-grade faculty were not prepared to deliver effective virtual instruction,” Henderson said. “The Hatton professorship is one way in which WT will help prepare both current and future teachers. The Hattons’ gift helps us support programs and people who will help us better prepare educators, at all levels, to be more effective.”

The first recipient of the professorship will be announced at a future date.

Education has long been a cornerstone at WT, which was founded in 1910 as a teachers college, and WT’s College of Education and Social Sciences remains dedicated to the development of tomorrow’s leaders. Currently, 73 percent of educators in the Panhandle area have at least one degree from WT.

The Hattons have a history of giving to WT since their return to Amarillo. In addition to the endowment fund established in 2020, the Hattons previously funded the Lanna Hatton Professor of Learning Disabilities, a position currently filled by Dr. Michelle Simmons.

Bob Hatton currently sits on the board of directors for the WTAMU Foundation, and Lanna Hatton is a member of the advisory board of WT’s College of Education and Social Sciences. The couple also has given generously to the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities.

A focus on regional needs, particularly in supporting the area’s teachers, is a key tenet of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised more than $85 million.

Matching donors’ passions with philanthropic opportunities is key to the One West campaign’s success, said Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice president for philanthropy and external relations.

“The success we are experiences in the One West comprehensive campaign is in large part due to making it possible for a donor’s philanthropic passions to be matched with opportunities at the University,” Rasberry said. “Lanna and Bob are investing their gifts to align with what matters most to them, and we are grateful. We want others to see how their passions align with the opportunities at WT.”



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. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs, 39 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 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.