Paul Engler’s Memory Honored with Formation of Four New Professorships at WT

Chip Chandler May 07, 2024
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Paul Engler’s Memory Honored with Formation of Four New Professorships at WT

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — Four new professorships have been established at West Texas A&M University to honor the legacy of the late Dr. Paul Engler.

Engler, the self-made entrepreneur who revolutionized the cattle-feeding industry, died May 3. Services are set for 10 a.m. May 8 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 4100 S. Coulter St. in Amarillo.

“Dr. Paul Engler singlehandedly transformed the cattle industry in the Texas Panhandle and America, and, likewise, he transformed WT,” said President Walter V. Wendler. “Paul was a bold visionary. He had a vision for WT to serve the people and communities of the Panhandle, and, from here, the state, nation and world as a Regional Research University.

“Paul’s historic gift of $80 million was his way of investing his money in an idea he could see whether anyone else could see it or not. And the rest, as they say, is history,” Wendler continued. “He propelled WT into a bold future by supporting the people, programs and places of WT. Others have now grasped his vision, as evidenced through the success of the One West comprehensive fundraising campaign.”

The professorships reflect Engler’s “combination of work ethic, business acumen and resolve that captures the entrepreneurial spirit of the West Texas,” said Dr. Neil Terry, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“Paul Engler is the greatest business leader I have ever had the pleasure of befriending,” Terry said. “Dr. Engler created a positive spirit of philanthropy at WT that provides financial support to our students, helps faculty pursue innovative ideas and enhances the future of higher education in the Texas Panhandle.”

In 2017, Engler and the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation agreed to donate $1 million a year for at least 80 years to the University for both the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business. It currently stands as the largest gift in WT history.

Now, four professorships were set up in those two Colleges that bear his name.

Dr. Bridget Guerrero has been named the Paul Engler Professor of Agriculture. Guerrero, a WT alumna, joined WT in 2013 after earning her doctoral degree in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University. She teaches agricultural marketing, advanced farm and ranch management, agricultural policy, environmental and natural resource economics, and agricultural risk.

Dr. Carolyn Bouma has been named the Paul Engler Professor of Microbiology. Bouma joined WT in 2005 after earning degrees from McDaniel College and Johns Hopkins University. She teaches microbiology, histology, medical microbiology and microbial genetics.

Dr. Dave Howe has been named the Paul Engler Professor of Entrepreneurship. Howe joined WT in 2017 after earning degrees from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. He teaches principles of management, leadership and teams, small business management, strategy implementation and negotiations.

Dr. Carl Zhang has been named the Paul Engler Professor of Business Innovation. Zhang joined WT in 2020 after earning degrees from George Washington University. He teaches courses related to programming for business applications, social network analysis, and data visualization in undergraduate and graduate levels. He was the recipient of the Paul & Virginia Engler College of Business Teaching Excellence Award in 2023.

“Paul Engler was a great friend and generous contributor to the success of West Texas A&M University, especially to the Colleges that bear his name,” said the Colleges’ deans, Dr. Kevin Pond and Dr. Amjad Abdullat, in a joint statement. “He was consistently present and involved in business and agricultural programs and projects, maintaining office hours and interacting with students and faculty in both of our colleges. Dr. Engler’s life story will continue to stimulate and encourage others to think big, work hard, embrace being an entrepreneur, and choose to surround yourself with great people.”

Engler was presented with an honorary Ph.D. in business administration and agriculture from both colleges in 2022.

His historic gift helped make possible the construction of the Agricultural Sciences Complex on Russell Long Boulevard, continuing WT’s expansion in the northeast area of campus. Since then, the Veterinary Education, Research and Outreach and Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory facilities have been constructed, soon to be joined by the new Texas A&M University AgriLife Research and Extension Center. Meanwhile, the Natural Sciences Building expanded in its recently renovated home on the southeast corner of campus.

In the Engler College of Business, more than $500,000 in scholarship funds specific to the College are awarded to students annually, and its innovative programming ranges from community partnerships tackling issues such as cybersecurity to a specialized MBA track in procurement.

The Engler name is already attached to eight professorships at WT: the Paul Engler Professorship of Animal Science, currently vacant; the Paul Engler Professorship of Beef Cattle Feedlot Management, currently held by Dr. John Richeson; the Paul Engler Professorship of Natural Sciences, currently held by Dr. David Khan; the Engler Professorship of Computer Information Systems, currently held by Dr. Abdullat; the Engler Professorship of Economics, currently held by Dr. Terry; the Engler Professorship of Management, currently held by Dr. Kelly McCauley; the Paul Engler Professorship of Business, currently held by Dr. De’Arno De’Armond; and the Virginia Engler Professorship of Business, currently held by Dr. Jillian Yarbrough.

Engler is the perfect example of a self-made man who has found success in the cattle industry. The Nebraska native’s business skill started at an early age when he purchased his first herd of cattle at the age of 12. He used the proceeds from cattle sales to fund his college education, and he graduated in 1948 from the University of Nebraska with a degree in agriculture.

By 1960, he was the founder/owner/operator of the Hereford Feedyard, establishing the Texas Panhandle as a force in the cattle industry. Under his leadership, Cactus Feeders became the largest cattle-feeding company in the world.

A pioneer of the Texas cattle-feeding industry, Engler has received numerous honors and recognition throughout his career, which include induction into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame and the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.

Engler’s life and career reflect the regional values to which WT aspires, 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 One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised nearly $160 million.



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.


Photo: Newly named Engler Professors at West Texas A&M University include, from left, Dr. Bridget Guerrero, Dr. Carolyn Bouma, Dr. Dave Howe and Dr. Carl Zhang.