Jon Mark Beilue: Two families, one mission

Jon Mark Beilue Mar 04, 2022
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Jon Mark Beilue: Two families, one mission

Bains, Schaeffers again unite — $5 million for stadium name


This was not by any means their first rodeo. But for the Bain and Schaeffer families, it might have been their most publicized rodeo as a near-capacity crowd in the Fairly Group Club on the second floor of Buffalo Stadium was in a celebratory and festive mood on the last Monday of February.

A winter morning usually doesn’t find a crowd of approximately 300 in a football stadium. Unless that football stadium is getting a new name, as happened when West Texas A&M University announced that it is receiving $5 million from two of the university’s longest and most prolific benefactors – the Ray Bain and Stanley Schaeffer families.

“These families have helped made West Texas A&M University what it is today,” University President Walter V. Wendler told those in attendance. “The core of this campus will be recognized as Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium.”

Three-year-old Buffalo Stadium, the 8,500-seat facility named by as the nation’s top Division II football stadium , will become the Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium with the latest gift to the One West comprehensive fundraising campaign.

“We will continue to be the Panhandle’s University,” Wendler said. “It is a high and noble calling for West Texas A&M University. For all of that, we need strong programs like our football program. Four generations of the Bain and Schaeffer families and the work they do here at WT will impact the future of the Panhandle for at least four more generations.”

Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium is only the latest in a legacy of giving by the two families to WT. The previous week, the Schaeffer family gave $2.5 million for the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building , named for the late wife of Stanley Schaeffer to help bring to life a historic building on campus that has been vacant for 30 years.

Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice-president for philanthropy and external relations and director of the WT Foundation, said the two family names are on 17 classrooms, labs and buildings, including the Schaeffer Sports Park, Bain Athletic Center, First United Bank Center, the Bain Event Center and the Piehl Schaeffer Pavilion.

Collectively, Rasberry said, the two families combined have made more than 1,500 gifts to WT and established $15 million in endowments to support students, faculty and programs in academics and athletics. The annual impact of the $15 million generates annually $700,000 in spendable earnings.

“These two families truly support the whole mission of West Texas A&M University,” Rasberry said.

Partnership in a time of need

Ray Bain of Plainview and Stanley Schaeffer of Canyon were students at West Texas State College in the 1950s. Bain went into banking, while Schaeffer became a certified public accountant and businessman in Dimmitt.

After stops at banks in the Texas Panhandle and southern New Mexico over the years, Bain was looking to return to the South Plains. When an opportunity arose to be president of the First State Bank of Dimmitt in 1985, he jumped at it.

“Within a year of him getting there,” said Mike Bain, his son, “the bank was up for sale by the gentleman who hired him. My dad went to him and said, ‘Look, I dropped everything to come up here and run the bank. Would you give me an opportunity to put a group together to buy it?’

“Pretty quickly, my dad went to Stanley, and they in a fairly short time put together an investment group to buy the bank. That’s how they became investment partners. The rest is history.”

The partnership also included philanthropy of their alma mater. When one got a gift-giving itch, the other helped scratch. It seemed to work well.


Photo: Barbara Bain and Stanley Schaeffer mingle following the announcement of the Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium naming.

“Stanley and his family are what I call extended family members,” Bain said, “and WT has meant so much to our region and to our families. If there were a project that Stanley, often carrying out Geneva’s wishes, took the lead on, we supported that. If we had a project, the Schaeffers would support as well. It’s been that way for a long time.”

The $5 million gift for naming rights will impact WT athletics in two areas – funding an endowment to make facility improvements, maintenance and equipment, and, more noticeably, the completion of the Bain Athletic Center.

“There’s a group of families and individuals that really – and it’s a cliché – but they bleed maroon,” said Michael McBroom, WT director of athletics. “For us to be a successful athletic program, it takes a lot of pieces. The Bains and Schaeffers, putting it in athletic terms, are All-Americans for us.”

Currently adjacent to the Buffalo Sports Complex, the Bain Athletic Center has locker facilities, hydrotherapy and sports medicine center, and weight training facility. The completion will include approximately 18,000 square feet of meeting rooms, academic center, and coaches’ offices to put almost all 14 sports under one roof.

“The main part is already done – that’s our central nervous system,” McBroom said. “To get everyone together will foster better relationships. We’ve been spread out over campus for as long as I’ve been here. We’re always trying to stay ahead of the curve in Division II.”

The Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium naming rights will give the financial boost the two families were looking for to get the athletic center completed.


Photo: WT Football Coach Hunter Hughes talks about the impact of the $5 million gift from the Bain and Schaeffer families.

“We’ve been trying to get the Bain Athletic Center finished and hope to be in the next couple of years,” Bain said. “That has been very much in the front of our minds, but it’s near and dear to Stanley’s heart as well. Stanley talked to us a year ago, that he wanted that finished. Stanley is not a young man, but he’s not going anywhere any time soon either.

“Rallying the troops to get this done has led to naming of the stadium. It’s something we can share with the Schaeffer family. It’s two different names, but really, we’re talking about one family. The journeys we have shared have meant the world to us.

“WT is on the move from the revitalization of basically the entire campus to cutting edge technology — these are just a few things that are getting WT noticed on a national level. Mixed that with a student-athlete getting a first-class education, playing on first-class teams, playing in first-class facilities, this is a perfect formula for us to continue to do even greater things than we dreamed possible.”


‘Philanthropy is not just financial’

After attending WT, neither Ray Bain nor Stanley Schaeffer may have dreamed what lay ahead. Schaeffer became a successful diversified investor from cattle feedlots to banking, from cable television to farming and ranching,

Bain would write a significant chapter on banking history in the Panhandle. First State Bank in Dimmitt became First United Bank in 1994. The bank expanded to 17 locations across 13 cities. Bain served as president and CEO of First State Bank and later First United Bank from 1987 until his death in 2013.

Mike, who played football at WT from 1987 to 1990, is the longtime president of First United, while brother Mark is the bank’s CEO. At the formal announcement of the stadium name on Feb. 28, extended members of both families were present, including Mike’s mother and Ray’s widow, Barbara.

Ray Bain received an honorary doctorate in business administration shortly before his death in 2013.  Schaeffer was similarly recognized in 2021.

“’Always do the right thing, value those around you, work hard and love one another,’ that’s just a few of the things my dad taught us,” Mike Bain said. “When you get the opportunity to give back, do it.

“Philanthropy is not just financial. We get tied up in that, but philanthropy is doing what you can do to give back whether that’s giving of your time, your mind, your ideas. It’s what makes the world go around. It’s about being part of something bigger than yourselves for the betterment of others.

“We had a big family dinner not long ago, and I told the younger generation, ‘I get it. You’re in college – that’s where your mindset is. That’s where mine was once.’ Now that I’m older, I wake up every morning knowing there’s a bigger purpose out there. There’s a community to get involved in and be a part of. That’s how to make things tick.”


Top photo: Mike Bain discusses his family's philosophy of philanthropy during a Feb. 28 press conference announcing the new name for the Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium on the campus of West Texas A&M University. Seated to his left are Barbara Bain, Stanley Schaeffer and David Schaeffer.


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 .