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WT president speaks to students in Dalhart, Hartley, Texline


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WT president speaks to students in Dalhart, Hartley, Texline

Bill Kelly
THE DALHART TEXAN

West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler started his second tour of high schools in the Texas Panhandle on September 14 with stops at Randall High, Amarillo High and Tascosa High. That tour came to Hartley and Dallam Counties on Friday October 29 as Wendler visited Texline, Dalhart and Hartley.

Wendler’s first tour of Panhandle schools was in 2017, as he embarked on what was called the “Your Community, Your University” tour, visiting almost every public and private high school in the top 26 counties in Texas. During that first tour, he spoke to approximately 8,440 students and traveled nearly 6,890 miles. In 2019, he took the tour to Region 17 (which is centered on Lubbock), visiting 66 schools in the South Plains. On that leg, Wendler spoke to approximately 15,900 students and traveled nearly 6,995 miles. In both the 2017 and the 2021 tours, Wendler’s mission is to serve the students of the Texas Panhandle first, then beyond.

This year’s tour is being called the “Your Community, Your University” Tour 2.0. It is scheduled to continue until December 2, with Channing currently being the final school on the schedule. Wendler discussed his “A Plan for One” with the students at Dalhart High, and that is what he emphasizes at all of his visits.

“I want students to make a plan that works for them, whether it’s attending WT or another university, starting off at community college, joining the military, working in their family business or attending trade or vocational school,” Wendler said. “They don’t have to worry about what everyone else is doing. The possibilities are endless. The important thing is to develop a plan.” He also emphasized to the Dalhart students that going into debt to pay for college, whether at WT or another school, isn’t always the best option and that students and their families should weigh the pros and cons of doing so.

The renewal of the tour comes after Wendler’s personal initiative to send more than 3,000 individualized welcome videos for each student accepted by WT for the Fall 2021 semester. Since Wendler began these personalized outreach efforts, West Texas A&M has seen two of the largest classes of freshmen enrollees in WT’s history — 1,344 students in 2019 and 1,348 students in 2021.

“At WT, we believe enrollment is everyone’s job, but to have a president who is willing to go to such lengths to connect with students around the Panhandle is really amazing,” said Mike Knox, vice president for student enrollment, engagement and success. “President Wendler’s efforts truly help us in our quest to create a welcoming, studentcentered environment.”

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