Jon Mark Beilue: Honoring WT’s roots, reputation

Jon Mark Beilue Mar 11, 2022
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Jon Mark Beilue: Honoring WT’s roots, reputation

Naming College of Education a $5 million boost to University's ‘flagship’


More than $100 million has gone to change the recent face and sharpen the mission of West Texas A&M University – from the ag sciences complex to Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium, from veterinarian facilities to the Harrington Athletic Center and beyond.

But March 9 was a celebratory reminder of WT’s roots and reputation in honoring a spouse and the university’s oldest college. Before a full house in Legacy Hall at the Jack B. Kelley Student Center, a Christmas present officially became public with the announcement of the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences .

The $5 million gift from alumnus Dyke Rogers in honor of his wife and lifetime educator Terry makes WT only the third public university among the 37 in Texas to have its college of education named for an individual. The $5 million is also the largest cash gift for the naming of a college of education in the state.

The news conference was the third such announcement in 16 days at WT for naming gifts totaling nearly $13 million, all part of the University-wide $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign.


Photo: Terry and Dyke Rogers pose with the new logo for the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences.

“This is the foundational college at WT. We started as a teacher’s college,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler. “That’s how we started like so many regional universities did. In many ways, the college of education – now the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences – is the flagship of West Texas A&M. It is so important to who we are, where we are and where we’re going.”

In 1910, West Texas Normal College opened to 152 students and 16 faculty. A normal college trained high school graduates to become teachers. In 1923, the name was changed to West Texas Teachers College, a name that stood until 1949.

Through the 1930s and into the 1950s, a demonstration school was held in the education building. It was an option to the Canyon ISD where students from first grade through seventh grade attended an on-campus school and were taught by WT’s education majors.

Though WT has long since expanded its education reach, even today, 75 percent – or three out of every four – of teachers and administrators in the Texas Panhandle have at least one degree or one certificate from WT.

“That’s a tremendously powerful thing,” Wendler said. “We have a history of educating educators in the Panhandle. Here’s what’s important. When the Panhandle does well and we are fruitful in the educational processes we offer, we can allow our chests to swell with appropriate pride. It cannot be overstated the college of education and its purpose to the greater picture of West Texas A&M.”

‘I love WT and love my wife’

Dyke Rogers was an accidental student at WT in the 1960s. Despite graduating as salutatorian in 1966 from Lake Worth High School near Fort Worth, college was not in the works. After graduation, he was headed from Fort Worth to the California beaches with $100 and a workable 1956 Chevy. The car quit working in Amarillo, which led to Rogers working for his cousin to earn the funds to repair the car.

A hot summer convinced him roofing was not in his future and that car probably wasn’t either. He was advised to check out the university in Canyon, one he never heard of, and Rogers soon enrolled at WT through the Opportunity Plan.

He graduated with a business degree and a minor in campusology in 1970. In the decades since, Rogers has been a successful and diversified businessman. He is managing partner in Frontier Fuel Co., and has interests from real estate development and brokerage to technology and artificial intelligence companies, from physical security companies to farm operations in two states.

Dyke and Terry, who have homes in Dalhart and Lake Tanglewood, are co-chairs for the One West campaign.

“Somebody asked me the other day – ‘Why the College of Education? Your background is in business and agriculture, so why the College of Education?’” Rogers said. “First, the colleges of agriculture and business are amazing places. Both are very worthy of investing.

“But people in agriculture and business normally have more means to invest. So it’s a lot easier to give back in large numbers in those areas than if you’re a teacher, police officer or psychologist. I just figured – where is the greatest need?

“Secondly, Terry and I both recognize that teachers are often the most influential person in a young life. We further recognize we will be faced with a critical shortage of teachers and administrators. It is important that this get re-energized. We believe it’s more important than ever to support our educational systems. Is there a better place to start than where it all starts in the College of Education and Social Sciences?”

Rogers has been a strong supporter of his alma mater for the last 20 years. He was chairman of the WT Foundation in the last major fundraising campaign prior to One West. In 2014, as part of that campaign, the Rogers gave $1 million to WT to begin the Dyke and Terry Rogers Leadership, Education and Development program, or Rogers LEAD WT.


Photo: Dyke and Terry Rogers, center, pose with students in the Rogers LEAD WT program, along with advisers Dr. Rick Haasl, second from left, and Missy Macon, fourth from left.

The program was created to help high-achieving students develop their leadership potential. The latest $5 million naming gift will enhance that program as well as fund other initiatives.

“When this LEAD program was being developed, my thought was that we wanted to be involved in that,” Rogers said. “I have always believed that small towns don’t die for lack of capital – they die for lack of leadership. We needed to reinvigorate the idea that small towns could have good leadership.”

A portion of the gift of the naming rights will provide scholarships for all 50 LEAD scholars annually. The gift will also support 20 annual scholarships for education majors as well as seven named professorships.

Money will also be provided to develop and support collaborative programs for the challenges of rural schools, and additional $500,000 will be available for matching endowments to encourage others to provide to the college.

“I wanted to do something significant for WT because WT did something significant for me,” Rogers said, “and I love my wife.”

A celebration of all teachers

Terry Rogers has been a teacher or administrator at 10 different schools during her educational career. In fact, she played hooky on March 9 to be at the naming ceremonies since she is an interim administrator at Dalhart Elementary School. Numerous colleagues from the different schools she worked were in attendance.

Her husband’s biggest challenge was how to tell her. To suggest so before the fact would have been met with a no. It came as a gift on Christmas morning with Terry unwrapping a plaque and Dyke explaining what all it meant. A video of that was shared at the ceremonies.

“To associate Terry’s name with the College of Education and Social Sciences,” Rogers said, “who better than a true educator, someone who loves education for education’s sake, a lifelong learner whose greatest joy is encouraging a kid with a hug.”

Terry Rogers is a native of Cross Plains, a small town near Abilene. She graduated from TCU and eventually was teaching in the Amarillo ISD, trying to cut corners as a single mom of two children living on a teacher’s salary.

A friend suggested she pursue a master’s at WT in the 1990s. Terry did, earning a master’s of education and an administration certificate, becoming one of those 75 percent. WT, she said later, was a lifeline. It was about the time she also met Dyke on a blind date in 1993. They were married in 1996.

“I am blessed beyond measure with this honor,” she said. “While today my name is being associated with the College of Education and Social Sciences at WT, I hope today will be a celebration of all teachers.

“Let’s stop and remember that one special teacher, or maybe many teachers, who made the biggest impact on your life. For me, it was all the teachers that I grew up with in Cross Plains. I can tell you every teacher’s name and what they gave to me. My heroes are educators. Teachers give us the foundation for learning and growing.”

Teacher education looks different than it did when WT was founded and later when it was still known as a teacher’s college. In many ways, the educational system from K-12 across the country is under siege. Funding, statewide testing, higher demands, working conditions have contributed to alarming teacher turnover.

A report from the University of Houston and Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation showed half of Texas teachers who started teaching in 2010 had left the profession by 2020.

The status quo won’t solve current and future issues, whether city or rural. The $5 million gift will help chip away at the challenges in today’s education.


Photo:WT President Walter V. Wendler hugs Terry Rogers following the announcement of the new name of the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences.

“I’m very excited that funds will be available to recognize, recruit and retain excellent faculty,” Terry Rogers said, “and part of today’s announced gift will be used to create and implement collaborative programs for rural schools.

“I believe our schools can be the positive connector for all our challenges in society. Having spent the last three weeks in an interim administrative role, I recognize the challenges facing our schools are great. There are many language and cultural barriers. There is a shortage of qualified teachers and administrators.

“I believe this will only get worse. And yet every single day, dedicated school personnel show up working their hearts out, giving their all so that every child has an opportunity to learn and become who they are called to be. All students are foundational for the future of our country.”


Top photo: Terry B. Rogers, a former elementary school teacher, leads the audience in some mid-press conference stretches during the announcement of the renaming of the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences at West Texas A&M University. Seated behind her are Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice president for philanthropy and external relations; Jim J. Brewer and Leah McLain, One West campaign leaders; WT President Walter V. Wendler (behind Rogers); Dyke Rogers; and Dr. Neil Terry, WT provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.


Do you know of a student, faculty member, project, an alumnus or any other story idea for “WT: The Heart and Soul of the Texas Panhandle?” If so, email Jon Mark Beilue at .