Major Scholarship Gift to Pay Full Tuition for Pampa, White Deer Graduates at WT

Chip Chandler Feb 02, 2023
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Major Scholarship Gift to Pay Full Tuition for Pampa, White Deer Graduates at WT

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


PAMPA, Texas — A $1.5 million endowment will cover tuition costs for four years at West Texas A&M University for Pampa and White Deer students, thanks to a recent gift by a Pampa man in memory of his late wife.

The Donna Carol Germany Cofer Endowed Scholarship will provide a minimum of $10,000 per academic year to selected students from Pampa and White Deer, thanks to a gift from Bill Cofer, a retired purchasing agent for Cabot Corp. in Pampa.

The endowment helps WT fulfill its primary mission of serving the people of the Texas Panhandle, as laid out in the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $115 million, with more than 51,000 gifts from more than 6,000 donors.

Neither Bill nor Carol Cofer attended WT, but they wanted to support students who wished to stay in the region.

“I have a scholarship at the University of North Texas, where I graduated from, for Pampa High graduates, and Carol wanted to set something up closer to home,” Bill Cofer said.

Carol Cofer died in August, and Bill Cofer said he was determined to fulfill her wishes.

The scholarship should cover the students’ full tuition for a four-year period, said Dana Melcher, executive director of student financial services.

“We have several scholarships for students graduating from specific high schools, but they are usually $500 or $1,000,” Melcher said. “We don’t have any other scholarships of this size for any regional high school.”

A student will be selected from Pampa High School in odd years beginning in 2023 and from White Deer High School in even years.

Cofer said the scholarship was designed to encourage students to attend WT for four years and earn a degree.

“I hope that every student present this morning will look upon Mr. Cofer’s generosity in establishing this scholarship for you as an example and inspiration for what you can do with your life and for others,” WT President Walter V. Wendler said in prepared remarks. “Mr. Cofer, your generous gift supports what we have said is most important in this campaign—people. Your gift helps WT make more real, more tangible for Pampa and White Deer students.”

Pampa High School Principal Clay Jones echoed Wendler.

“Through this endowment, our educational institutions can continue to offer opportunities for students to strive for academic success and, much like Bill and Carol, extend generosity to others,” Jones said in prepared remarks. “We are so thankful to the Cofer family for their generosity and for thinking of both communities of White Deer and Pampa.”

White Deer Independent School District Superintendent Duane Limbaugh said the gift will have a long-reaching impact.

“Through this gift, we are building stronger and healthier communities by keeping students in this region,” Limbaugh said in prepared remarks. “WT is critical to developing talent here in the Panhandle and keeping our youth connected to their home.”

Bill Cofer graduated from White Deer High School in 1951, and Carol Cofer graduated in 1955. He taught in Stinnett before being drafted into the U.S. Navy. After they married, Bill Cofer began working for Cabot in Louisiana; Kermit; and Beaver, Oklahoma. They settled in Pampa, where Bill Cofer retired from Cabot in 1988.

The Cofers’ unsolicited gift was a surprise to fundraisers for the WTAMU Foundation.

“The message of the One West Campaign is gaining traction by focusing attention on WT’s role as the Panhandle’s regional research university, as shown in this welcome surprise from the Cofer family,” said Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice president for philanthropy and external relations at WT. “Mr. Cofer sought out WT as the place to create a legacy in his wife’s memory precisely because WT’s commitment to regionalism as a defining characteristic which is embodied through focusing first on Panhandle students, families, and communities.”


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 and more than 40 graduate degrees, including 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.