Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]
CANYON, Texas — In the largest gift in its history, High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation
will give $3 million to support West Texas A&M University’s nursing program.
The gift also is the fourth-largest single gift in the University’s history.
“This is a significant investment in our student nurses and our faculty — nearly double the size
of any gift the foundation has ever given,” said Dr. J. Dirk Nelson, dean of the College of
Nursing and Health Sciences. “We are humbled by their faith in us and determined to use this
gift to serve the Texas Panhandle and beyond.”
WT will recognize the gift, to be paid out over three years, by naming a floor in Harrington
Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center at Eighth Avenue and Tyler Street.
Construction and remodeling began in November on what will be known as the
Baptist Community Services Nursing Education Floor on the second floor of the Harrington
“This renovation on our second floor will provide us with 25,000 square feet of new labs,
classrooms, offices, study areas and more to better educate our outstanding student nurses,” said
Dr. Holly Jeffreys, head of the Department of Nursing. “We are incredibly grateful that High
Plains Christian Ministries Foundation sees the dedicated work being done by our faculty and
staff and is generously contributing to the education of the fine students who will become front-
line, essential workers throughout the city, the region and the country.”
Students and faculty will move into the facility over the summer to begin use in Fall 2021. The
total project budget is $7 million.
High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation is a part of the Baptist Community Services
organizational family. The Foundation supports the senior adult services and community
wellness programs of BCS, including Park Central and the Snack Pak 4 Kids weekend food
“Baptist Community Services is excited and honored to partner through its foundation, High
Plains Christian Ministries Foundation, with West Texas A&M University and its outstanding
nursing program,” said Mike Wartes, chairman of the Baptist Community Services board of
trustees. “We feel confident that this partnership will lead to the expansion of this great program
and its development of more top-flight nurses for Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle region.”
“This $3 million naming gift from High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation represents the
second-largest gift to date since my arrival and the launch of the WT 125: From the Panhandle
to the World long-range plan,” said University President Dr. Walter Wendler. “This gift adds to
the powerful momentum of our comprehensive capital campaign that is only in its beginning
In August, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents gave final approval to spend
$6.5 million to renovate the Amarillo Center’s second floor. When finished, the move will place
250 undergraduate students and approximately 20 nursing faculty and staff in Amarillo, and it
will offer greater opportunities for collaboration between the nursing program and other WT
programs including communication disorders, the Panhandle Area Education Center and the
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
“High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation and Baptist Community Services are blessed to
invest in an outstanding facility for WTAMU's growing nursing program. We are confident that
this facility will complement the programs of West Texas A&M University under the
exceptional leadership and direction of President Dr. Walter V. Wendler,” said Carroll Bedwell,
chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees.
“Not only will students receive excellent training at reasonable cost, but they will also be
available to contribute to our Amarillo area medical community and the overall well-being of the
Panhandle of Texas,” Bedwell said. “This is a great day for WTAMU and the
Amarillo/Canyon area and truly one of our greatest community investments.”
Gifts such as this by High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation help build undergraduate
academic excellence, a key maxim of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the
Panhandle to the World.
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. With enrollment of
more than 10,000, WT offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 40 master’s degrees and 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 15 men’s
and women’s athletics programs.