By Chip Chandler 

The remarkable, ongoing legacy of giving by two prominent regional families was honored Sept. 2 as West Texas A&M University officially celebrated the renaming of its on-campus stadium.

The premiere football stadium in all of Division II Athletics now bears their names: The Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium.

WT officials and the families of Barbara and Ray Bain and Geneva and Stanley Schaeffer gathered at the foot of the stadium’s main tower to officially kick off the first season in the Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium ahead of WT’s home football season opener Sept. 3 against Western Colorado University.

“We know naming Buffalo Stadium is a commitment and investment in our University. We also know it is an investment and commitment in each of us and our futures,” said WT running back Jarrod Compton, a senior general studies major from Lubbock. “Our first touchdown in Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium tomorrow night is our gift to you.”

The families together gave a gift of $5 million in February to WT’s historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Ray Bain attended WT, then became president of First State Bank of Dimmitt in 1985. In 1987, he joined with Stanley Schaeffer and a small group of investors to purchase the bank, which became known as First United Bank in 1994. Today, the bank has expanded to 17 locations across 13 West Texas cities. Bain died in 2013; Schaeffer currently serves as director emeritus.

Schaeffer’s wife Geneva, a distinguished alumna of WT, died in 2016.

Both Stanley Schaeffer and Barbara Bain were honored during the Sept. 2 ceremony.

“The two of you have done something that few are able to do,” WT President Walter V. Wendler said. “You have passed on your philanthropic values to your children. It is your family legacy that exists at WT.”

Indeed, the Bain and Schaeffer names are prominent across WT’s campus, seen on 17 classrooms, labs, buildings and facilities.

Among the campus landmarks named for the families are Schaeffer Softball Park, the Bain Athletic Center, the Stanley Schaeffer Agriculture Education Learning Lab, the Bain Events Center and the Piehl-Schaeffer Pavilion.

In February, the Stanley Schaeffer family announced a $2.5 million gift to name the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building in memory of their late matriarch.

“Combined, the Bain and Schaeffer families collectively have made more than 1,500 gifts to WT, and they have established some $15 million in endowments that support students, faculty and programs across the academic units and WT Athletics,” said Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice president for philanthropy and external relations. “To give you an idea of the annual impact, those endowment generate about $700,000 in spendable earnings annually.”

Along with the stadium, the Bain Athletic Center also serves as a cornerstone of the excellence of WT Athletics “that is second to none in the Lone Star Conference, Division II NCAA Athletics and the State of Texas,” Wendler said.

The Athletic Center facility, the vision of Ray and Barbara Bain, is in Phase III of construction. When complete, the facility will house sports performance, sports medicine, football and Olympic sport offices, academic success programs, team meeting rooms and the Hall of Champions.

The Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium seats 8,500 along the west and east sides with an estimated total capacity of 12,000 when including overflow berm seating and standing-room-only space at the concourse level. Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium offers opportunities for future expansion of up to 14,000 permanent seats.

The stadium features a video scoreboard structure that sits on the north end zone and a ribbon board system along the front of the east and west upper decks, and a concourse provides full circulation for patrons around the stadium. Additionally, the stadium was one of the first university stadiums in the country to run on a WiFi 6 network.

The First United Bank Center, named for the bank founded by Ray Bain with Stanley Schaeffer, opened in January 2002. Home to Buff and Lady Buff basketball, the facility has seating for 5,000 and a scoreboard with a large video screen. The center is commonly used for WT’s commencement exercises and a host of other public events including high school playoff games, conventions and freshmen convocation.

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