WTAMU’s One West campaign sets new record for funds raised
West Texas A&M University surpassed previous fundraising records for its comprehensive One West campaign in the first year since its initial launch on September 1, 2021.
In the first fiscal year since the campaign went public, WT has raised over $73 million. This total is nearly $60 million more than the amount raised in fiscal 2021, the previous record year. In total, the campaign raised around $111 million this week.
“By far, it’s the donors who make a successful fundraising campaign, and I’m grateful to those who have given, are considering giving, and to those who haven’t yet thought of giving but will,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler in a press release. “The major universities, without exception, are successful in fundraising. The two go hand in hand in higher education. The success of this campaign is critical to the future of WT and the prosperity of the Panhandle, as outlined in our long term plan, “WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World”.
According to Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice president of philanthropy and external relations, the campaign focuses on people, programs and places.
“The One West campaign is the fuel for WT’s long-term vision, known as ‘WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World’, so the campaign raises philanthropic funds to achieve this vision. The campaign has three priorities, including people, programs and places, in that order, and so the money we raise from donors goes to support our core educational mission while really supporting those three priorities,” Rasberry said.
More than half of the designated donations received through the campaign so far have been made with a people focus, including expanding scholarship opportunities, naming chairs and chairs. In the 2021-22 academic year, WT added nine endowed chairs, bringing its total number of endowed chairs and chairs to 70.
An additional 26% of the current total was allocated to the One West focus on places, upgrading existing buildings and constructing transformational new spaces; 22.8% of the current total has been allocated to programs, thanks to the improvement of the academic offer and research.
In fiscal 2022, WT saw its giving increase in multiple ways. In August, WT received the annual $1 million installment from Paul Engler and the Engler Foundation, part of what is currently the largest donation in WT history. Major gifts this past fiscal year include a $5 million donation to rename Bain-Schaeffer Stadium Buffalo by the families of Barbara and the late Ray Bain and Stanley and the late Geneva Schaeffer; a $5 million donation from Dyke Rogers for the nomination of the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences; and $5 million in donations from Dr. Gordon W. Davis and Caviness Beef Packers to establish two chairs in meat judging and meat science at the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Science.
Other significant donations last year include a $2.5 million donation from Stanley Schaeffer and his family for the naming of the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building; a $1.5 million gift from the High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation to renovate the Joseph A. Hill Memorial Chapel; a $500,000 donation from Merck Animal Health for the renovation and expansion of the WT Research Feedlot; and a $300,000 gift from Louise C. and Gene F. Rahll to endow the Showcase in a Suitcase program at Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities.
“Scholarships are key to attracting and retaining students. We want students across the Panhandle to work very hard to make the decision not to come to WT. Supporting families with the cost of education is very important, not just to us but across the nation, and we take that very seriously. So we’ve had generous donors who have contributed to the campaign in the past, and it’s that generosity that has made this campaign a success. Rasberry said.
Other donations received so far through the One West campaign are planned gifts or legacy gifts that will benefit the university as part of the donors’ estates. Planned giving announced last year includes the Gerdsen Family Centennial Ranch, a 1,772-acre property near the WTAMU Nance Ranch east of Canyon; and a $1.8 million pledge from WT alumnus Judy Fugate for WT women’s track and field teams through scholarships and program support.
I Am WT, the university’s annual fundraising campaign, raises more than $300,000 annually from faculty, staff, alumni, and students for athletics, academic fields, programs, memberships, and more Again. This year’s campaign kicked off on August 25.
Philanthropic donations may include securities, donations of donor-oriented funds, estate gifts, charitable master trusts, charitable remainder trusts, life insurance, charitable annuity or designation of fund beneficiaries retirement, to name a few.
According to Rasberry, the public phase of the plan ends in 2025, but the long-term plan is set to last until the university’s 125th anniversary in 2035.
“This plan really forces WT to look and take seriously what it takes to be a regional university, and one that addresses the issues and challenges of the rural region we live in and finds applications that work, not just here , but also rural. This puts on our shoulders the responsibility to be part of finding solutions and building the resources of the Panhandle and our region,” Rasberry said.
“We have a lot of work to do to prioritize the people, programs and places and find donors who want to make a difference, and find them the opportunities at WT through higher education to make that happen,” a- he added.
To donate, contact the WTAMU Foundation at 806-651-2070 or visit wtamu.edu/give.