By Chip Chandler

West Texas A&M University’s anchor college will be named for a prominent regional educator following a $5 million gift.

The newly dubbed Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences was unveiled today at a press conference in Legacy Hall in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center.

“Dyke and Terry Rogers are engaging their passion for education by naming the foundational College at WT, the College of Education and Social Sciences,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler in prepared remarks. “WT has waited for 112 years for someone to name the bedrock school that has always been an essential part of who we are as a University. Today, Dyke and Terry have changed the course of WT’s history.”

“If you look at the history of West Texas A&M University,” said Dr. Neil Terry, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, “throughout all of our different names, the anchor college and what has really been its identity is the College of Education and Social Sciences.”

WT opened in 1910 as West Texas State Normal College, a school that trained teachers. Today, about 75 percent of all teachers and administrators throughout the Panhandle region have at least one degree or certificate from WT.

Terry Rogers was one such teacher. A single mother of two at the time, Rogers put herself through school, attending classes on nights and weekends to earn her master’s degree in education to better her career prospects.

“I felt called to make this gift because, one, we look at this as an excellent investment in the future of our area, and two, because I love my wife and want to do something that recognizes her work and her legacy,” Dyke Rogers said.

In addition to teachers and school administrators, the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences is responsible for the preparation of school psychologists, social work professionals, and students for graduate programs in psychology, sociology, the law and public services and administration, as well as direct engagement with the community through its programs in criminal justice and emergency management administration. The College currently serves more than 1,700 students, making it the second-largest College at WT. It includes three departments: the Department of Education; the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice; and the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work.

Meeting these varied regional needs is the principal goal 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.

“We are delighted that we will hereafter be known as the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences,” said Dr. Eddie Henderson, dean. “That name brings us a great deal of distinction. It brings us a great deal of pride. It brings us enthusiasm for the future as we work together with Dyke and Terry Rogers in perpetuating the history of excellence in the College and taking it to new levels across the board.”

With this announcement, WT is one of only three public universities in the state of Texas with a named College of Education.

After her marriage in 1996 to Dyke Rogers, the couple became faithful and generous supporters of WT, with Dyke serving as chairman of the WTAMU Foundation during the University’s last major fundraising campaign. In 2014, as part of that campaign, they gave $1 million to WT to found the Dyke and Terry Rogers Leadership Education and Development program, or Rogers LEAD WT.

“We invested in the LEAD WT program because we felt like small towns don’t die from a lack of capital. They die from a lack of leadership, and if WT can develop great leaders, the better the chance that they’ll go back to their hometowns and make a difference,” Dyke Rogers said.

Terry Rogers taught at Windsor, Ridgecrest and Puckett elementary schools in Amarillo, then served as principal of Coronado Elementary School before retiring in 1998. Currently, she is serving as an interim administrator at Dalhart Elementary School.

Dyke Rogers is managing partner in Frontier Fuel Co. and is involved in real estate development and brokerage, technology and artificial intelligence companies, physical security companies, farm operations in Texas and Louisiana, among other interests.

Today, the couple, who has homes in Dalhart and Lake Tanglewood, serves as co-chairs for WT’s One West comprehensive fundraising campaign.

A significant portion of the Rogers gift will establish about 20 scholarship funds in the Department of Education, providing funds for mostly nontraditional students like Terry Rogers was. Dyke Rogers, too, benefitted from scholarships when he earned his undergraduate degree business and economics from WT.

“I was the first in my family to go to college, and it has led to many blessings in my life,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important for us to establish these scholarship funds.”

Another portion of the gift will develop and implement outreach programs to assist teachers and administrators in rural schools.

For Terry Rogers, the gift—which she describes as “humbling”—is important because it will solidify WT’s standing as “a lifeline to the rural school districts in this area.”

“Instructional leadership — that’s the key. That’s my passion,” she said. “You want innovative teachers who can engage all students, and that starts from the superintendents on down. Teachers, as well as social science professionals, are the foundation for a healthy America. I’m deeply touched that Dyke knows my heart so well.”

The gift also will provide funding or matching funding for several endowed professorships, to be named later.

In addition to the Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences and the Rogers LEAD WT program, the couple also provided funding for the Dyke and Terry Rogers Legends Plaza at Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium.

Dyke Rogers was named a distinguished alumnus of WT in 2019. The couple won the WT Pinnacle Award in 2014 and the Family Philanthropic Spirit Award in 2015 from the Association of Fundraising Professionals — Texas Plains Chapter.

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