West Texas A&M University is 2020, at least in some aspects

Every 10 years the federal government conducts the Census and success on campus is visible to the public.

WTAMU+Old+Main+sits+at+the+center+of+campus.

Marcus Rogers

WTAMU Old Main sits at the center of campus.

Every 10 years at the start of the decade, the federal government gathers information about how many people are in the United States across the states and territories, as required by the Constitution. This count gives light to the work the university has been dedicated to with The Pioneering Spirit: Pursuit of WT 125 strategic plan.

We don’t yet have public information about the in-depth analysis of the results for the 2020 Census, as we are still trying to analyze the data for redistricting going on at the state level in the country. With the limited information released, we do have the overall numbers for population changes around the country.

The results from the census show that there was a 14% growth in the population in Randall County, which Canyon is the county seat for. Population in the county increased from 120,725 to 137,713 per the 2020 Census results. Randall County includes Canyon, south Amarillo, northern Happy, Lake Tanglewood, Palisades, Timbercreek Canyon, Umbarger and a few smaller unincorporated communities.

West Texas A&M University students attend the university while also residing in their home communities. Due to the central location of the institution, not every WTAMU student is going to be a resident of Randall county, but the majority of students reside in the county.

We can make a determination that some of the growth comes from the success of WTAMU in the Texas Panhandle as Randall county is only 1 of 2 counties in the Panhandle that has grown in population, the other being Dallam County, home to Dalhart.

According to a WT News release there was a “seven percent growth in [our] freshman class. This is the third-highest number of first-time students in WT history.”

WTAMU has been growing for years, with enrollment topping 10,000 students for the first time in 2020. This growth can be attributed to the approach from Dr. Wendler and the WT 125 Plan to help bring students to WTAMU. The increased enrollment the past few years at WTAMU has been increasing to new levels, which can be a factor in the growth of the county.

“I think [WTAMU has] contributed a lot to not just the growth, but the assessments of local businesses and to Canyon,” said Sharon Quintero-Diaz, senior Political Science student.

Canyon is known as a college town with a large percentage of the city being associated with the institution and the avenues of having higher education being located centrally in the community. The parallels of growth with Randall County and WTAMU can not be ignored, WTAMU should be proud of the part it has played in the recorded growth experienced in the Texas Panhandle.

“I think that those efforts, along with great faculty and already good programs that we already have, [gives] us awareness as a campus, seeing that [our] school in the A&M system is expanding,” Diaz said.

With Randall County being the fastest growing county in the High Plains, WTAMU has a unique opportunity to be the shining beacon of the future in the Panhandle. This growth boils down to the commitment that the university has to helping people of the Panhandle meet the future of the region.

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