Rogers LEAD WT Graduating Seniors to Be Honored at Ceremony


Graduating seniors in West Texas A&M University’s Rogers LEAD Program for 2023 include, front from left, Erin Arias, McKenna Cavalier, Sarah King, Holly Thomas and Jessica Avila, and back from left, Jake Day, Wesley Browne, Louis Alcala, Hannah Holt, Quinn Dunham, Jillian Melendez and Alessandra Rendon. Also pictured are Rick Haasl,l eft, faculty director, and Missy Macon, far right, program director.

CANYON, Texas — Graduating seniors in one of West Texas A&M University’s most prestigious programs will be honored at a pre-commencement ceremony.

The graduation ceremony for the Class of 2023 for the Dyke and Terry Rogers Leadership Education and Development Program, or Rogers LEAD WT, will begin at 6 p.m. May 12 in Legacy Hall in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center on the Canyon campus.

“Graduation is a special ceremony for us,” said Missy Macon, program director. “We have a video recap of their time in LEAD, and as they walk across the stage to receive their cords, we read from their final reflections.

Family, friends, LEAD alumni and current LEAD scholars will attend.

Graduating students being honored will include:

Louis Alcala, a business major from Dalhart; Erin Arias, an animal science / pre-vet major from Leander; Jess Avila, a sports and exercise science major from Amarillo; Wesley Browne, an animal science / pre-vet major from Waxahachie; McKenna Cavalier, a nursing major from Canadian; Jake Day, a math education major from Matador; Quinn Dunham, an agricultural media and communication major from Greensboro, North Carolina; Hannah Holt, a psychology major from Amarillo; Sarah King, a nursing major from Amarillo; Jillian Melendez, an equine industry and business major from Boerne; Alessandra Rendon, a sports and exercise science major from Amarillo; and Holly Thomas, an animal science major from Paso Robles, California.

The Rogers LEAD WT program was created in 2012 to challenge high-achieving students to further develop their leadership potential.

In 2014, area philanthropists Dyke and Terry Rogers endowed the program with a $1 million gift, part of the couple’s history of giving to WT that most recently included a $5 million gift to name the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences.

Up to 25 students annually are accepted as LEAD scholars following an extensive application and interview process. The program is completed in two years, with students taking leadership theory courses, working as a team on service projects, and completing internship experiences and taking part in other real-world activities including networking events and public speaking opportunities.

Fostering leadership is a critical component of 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 campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021— has raised more than $125 million and will continue through 2025.