Paul Engler to Be Awarded Honorary Doctorate at WT’s Spring Commencement 

Chip Chandler

Rik Andersen

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]  


CANYON, Texas — Paul Engler, the self-made entrepreneur who revolutionized the cattle-feeding industry, will be awarded an honorary doctorate May 7 by West Texas A&M University. 

Engler will be presented with an honorary Ph.D. in business administration and agriculture from both colleges that bear his name: WT’s Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business and Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences. 

Engler will be honored during the first of WT’s three 2022 commencement ceremonies, which begins at 9 a.m. May 7 in the First United Bank Center at the intersection of Russell Long Boulevard and Fourth Avenue on the east end of WT’s Canyon campus.   

Honorary degrees offer the University opportunity to recognize excellence in the fields of public affairs, the sciences, humanities and the arts, scholarship and education, business and philanthropy and social services with significant and lasting contributions to community. 

Engler expressed his gratitude, calling the degree “probably the finest and most meaningful I have been blessed to receive. 

“I have traveled many miles during my 75-year active participation in the business world. Some of these miles were easy and came fairly quickly while some of them were exceedingly difficult, and these difficult miles were without question the great teachers of my life,” Engler said. “As a result, I would like everyone to know that I greatly appreciate the opportunities that God and the business world have provided me over the years. Thank you again for this amazing honor you have bestowed on me.” 

In 2017, Engler and the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation agreed to donate $1 million a year for at least 80 years to the University for both the Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the Engler College of Business. It currently stands as the largest gift in WT history. 

“Paul Engler’s life and career have had wide-reaching impact across Texas and the world, including—in a truly significant way—here at WT,” said University President Walter V. Wendler. “He embodies true Panhandle values of authenticity, hard work and a commitment to community, and he’s not afraid to take risks and step out as a leader. He has truly changed the trajectory of WT, and I am pleased that we are recognizing his impact with this well-deserved honorary degree.” 

“The honorary doctorate recognizes Mr. Engler as a transformative Texas Panhandle business leader and one of the greatest visionaries in cattle industry history,” said Dr. Neil Terry, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. 

Dr. Amjad Abdullat, dean of the Engler College of Business, called Engler a “legendary, successful pioneer and entrepreneur.” 

“Paul is a visionary who believes in the tremendous potential of individuals and their entrepreneurial sprint,” Abdullat said. “He is a passionate supporter of education, and his impact on the College of Business, the University and our community will endure for generations to come.” 

Engler is a familiar and welcome face on campus, said Dr. Kevin Pond, dean of the Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences. 

“I have the privilege of having an office next to Mr. Engler’s office in the Agricultural Complex,” Pond said. “All of us look forward to interacting with Mr. Engler on Thursdays when he is on campus. He graciously shares his time, wisdom and advice with students, faculty and staff. We are all excited to greet Dr. Engler after receiving his honorary doctorate.”  

Engler is the perfect example of a self-made man who has found success in the cattle industry. The Nebraska native’s business skill started at an early age when he purchased his first herd of cattle at the age of 12. He used the proceeds from cattle sales to fund his college education, and he graduated in 1948 from the University of Nebraska with a degree in agriculture.  

By 1960, he was the founder/owner/operator of the Hereford Feedyard, establishing the Texas Panhandle as a force in the cattle industry. Under his leadership, Cactus Feeders became the largest cattle-feeding company in the world.  

A pioneer of the Texas cattle-feeding industry, Engler has received numerous honors and recognition throughout his career, which include induction into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame and the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame. 

The Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation is a family endeavor and reflects the love of family and the communities Paul and Virginia serve, including the Texas Panhandle. The late Virginia “Jinx” Joan Kreycik Engler was a dedicated philanthropist throughout her life. She loved helping people and shared her kindness and generosity with everyone she met. That generosity and kindness provided the groundwork in helping the community through their foundation.   

Commitment to higher education in the region is not new for the Engler Foundation, as generations of emerging business leaders at WT have benefitted from the long-established Virginia Engler Scholarship. 

Students from the College of Engineering and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences will graduate at 12:30 p.m., and students from the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences and the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities will graduate at 4 p.m. 

Each ceremony will be livestreamed at In all, nearly 1,600 students will graduate this spring semester. 

Engler’s life and career reflect the regional values to which WT aspires, as laid out in the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World. 

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised about $110 million. 


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. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including 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 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.