WT Agriculture preparing for the future


Marcus Rogers

The 2021 Graduates of Distinction, Don Bell and Johnny Treiche, and First Choice Awards, the winners Virgil Bartlett and the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo. from the Department of Agricultural Sciences scholarship reception.

For the past 20 plus years, the Department of Agricultural Sciences has been preparing the next generation of agriculturalists in the Texas Panhandle by financially helping students pay for their college education through the Agricultural Sciences Scholarship Reception. The reception is the recognition of the previous year’s work from Ag Day to the other events throughout the year that generate funds for the students in the Department of Agricultural Sciences.

This year’s 2021 reception was able to help out 278 out of 539 students that had applied for scholarships. In total the Department of Agricultural Sciences has provided $1,114,848 with $531,598 coming from Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.

The purpose of this reception is to, “recognize not only our scholarship recipients, and our donors, but also our award recipients of our first choice [awards] and graduates of distinction,” said Dr. Lance Kieth, associate dean of the Paul Engler College of Agricultural and Natural Sciences.

WTAG is centered around alumni and influential members of the community coming together to help out current students obtain their degree for application in the world. The Department of Agricultural Sciences has grown over the years via the commitment to serving students to the renowned program it is today.

The 2021 graduates of Distinction for the Department of Agricultural Sciences were Don Bell, Class of 1998, and Johnny Treichel, Class of 1996, for their dedication and time to aiding WTAG.

Bell is a Western artist who was a part of the Department of Agricultural Sciences and now renders depictions of Western life. You can even see a piece of his artwork in Kieth’s office.

Treichel is a generous man who has dedicated his life to helping out people of the High Plains. He was the Clarendon College Man of the Year as well as Clarendon’s Man of the Year for his services to the community through the Clarendon College Judging competition which draws thousands to the small community in Donley County.

For the First Choice Awards, the winners of 2021 are Virgil Bartlett and the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo.

General Manager for the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo, Virgil Bartlett, gave a heartfelt speech to the attendees on his birthday for this award that was given to him and to his employer.

Dr. Walter Wendler, president of WTAMU, who was also in attendance,  thanked everyone for the “efforts and the fruits that those efforts bear.”

The thought of having the five rows of buildings where the Department of Agricultural Sciences now was a goal when Wendler came to WTAMU. Efforts by which the department has grown falls under the WTAMU’s leadership to its highly recognized institutions, even those outside of the Texas Panhandle.

Through the few years that Wendler has been a part of our institution, the growth has been exceptional. Dedication to helping the university grow has been at the forethought of every decision.

I spoke with Marissa Rodriguez, sophomore animal science specializing in pre-veterinary medicine, said, “Whenever I came to WT, everyone was extremely welcoming and [the] campus felt like home to me.”

Community being the centerpiece of the reception is why the Department of Agricultural Sciences has expanded to the well-renowned institution it is today, and people like Rodriguez are the ones able to reap the benefits of this investment into the students.


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