‘I Am WT’ Podcast Spotlights Gary, Cindy Barnes

Chip Chandler Oct 26, 2023
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‘I Am WT’ Podcast Spotlights Gary, Cindy Barnes

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University’s student-run podcast continues its second season Oct. 26 with an episode focusing on one of WT’s most recent distinguished alumni and his accomplished wife.

 “I Am WT” hosts Myka Bailey, a junior PR/advertising/applied communication major from Abernathy, and Thomas Rodriguez, a junior digital media and communication major from Katy, interview Gary and Cindy Barnes.

Gary Barnes, a former WT administrator who graduated in 1978, was recognized as a 2023 Distinguished Alumnus during Homecoming Week earlier in October. His wife Cindy, also a 1978 graduate, is a former WT staff member.

The episode is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud, as well as at

Gary Barnes, a Plainview native, graduated from WT in 1978 with his bachelor of business administration degree. He began working for the University as a student, then was hired after graduation as a staff accountant. He rose through the ranks and ultimately served as vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer during a time when the University was on shaky ground.

Gary Barnes left WT in 2013 to become the associate vice president for finance and university controller at Texas A&M University, where he served from 2014 to 2016, overseeing 11 departments and managing a $1.7 billion budget.

In 2016, he was hired by the Texas Tech University System, where he retired in April 2022 as vice chancellor and chief financial officer.

Cindy Barnes, a Big Springs native, was a WT softball player who started working for WT Athletics as a student, then joined the Office of Student Affairs, working in Residential Living and elsewhere.

The Barneses now live in Lubbock.

“What a humbling experience this has been,” Gary Barnes says on the podcast. “I enjoy the opportunity to promote WT in every aspect that I’ve been able to do, and I really appreciate the award.”

Cindy Barnes discusses the arrival of women’s athletics under Title IX during her time as a student.

“We were on the ground level of fighting for the opportunity to compete,” Cindy Barnes said.

She also talked about why the couple continues to support the University.

“WT was extremely good to these two first-generation college students,” Cindy Barnes said. “It was an opportunity but it was also a privilege to be here, and I never saw it any different. So therefore, it changed my life, and I want to share that with others. I think it’s our obligation to share that with others.”

The “I Am WT” podcast embodies WT’s commitment to people first, one of the key principles of 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 campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021— has raised more than $125 million and will continue through 2025.

In the biweekly episodes of “I Am WT,” student hosts interview WT faculty, staff, students and alumni about what WT means to them.

Audiences hear stories about how attending or working at WT changed the lives of the guests, and how they’re making a difference in their community.



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.