In its first school year, West Texas State Normal College had 152 students and 16 faculty members. Its first president was Robert B. Cousins. A year after the Texas State House of Representatives approved the bill to establish West Texas State Normal College, construction began on the school's Administration Building. It consisted of the school's only classrooms, laboratory, library, and offices. On March 25, 1914, the school burned down; however, classes continued in local churches, courthouses, and vacant buildings. Later, in 1916, a new Administration Building opened. The first four-year college degrees were granted in 1919. In the following years the college was admitted to: American Association of Teachers Colleges in 1922, Association of Texas Colleges in 1923, and Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1925. The school changed its name to West Texas State Teachers College in 1923. In the early 1930s, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society built its Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum on the campus. In 1948, a nonconformist leftist sociology professor, Joseph L. Duflot (1881ï¿½1957), created a sensation on campus when he told a meeting of the American Federation of Labor in Amarillo that "modern capitalism" is the "No. 1 enemy of the United States economy." A powerful legislator at the time, Sam Hanna of Dallas County, warned that state funding could be jeopardized for any college with "a communist" on the faculty. Though the West Texas regents first dismissed Duflot, he survived a second vote, and regent H.L. Mills praised him for "the courage of his convictions". During the days of West Texas State University the football team was an enormously successful feeder program for notable professional wrestlers including Tully Blanchard, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Ted Dibiase, Bobby Duncam, Tito Santana, Barry Windam, Bruiser Brody, Dory Funk Jr., and Stan Hansen, among others. Many returning veterans from World War II enrolled at the institution in the latter 1940s, taking advantage of new G.I. Bill of Rights assistance. Conditions were so overcrowded for a time that the former soldiers slept in the gymnasium, and beds were brought from a former Prisoner of War camp in Hereford. In 1949, the school again changed its name, this time to West Texas State College. During the Cold War, attention at West Texas was focused on anti-communism. One history professor, John Cook, claimed that many of the films shown on campus, such as Communism on the Map, were "propaganda". During this time too, the historian J. Evetts Haley ran for governor of Texas on a staunchly conservative platform, but the office went to Marion Price Daniel, Sr.. During the 1960s, the school changed from a regional teacher's college to a state university. In 1963, Governor John B. Connally signed a bill to change the school's name to West Texas State University. The newly named school would gain a College of Arts and Sciences, a graduate school, and professional schools of business. Near the end of the 1960s, West Texas State obtained its own board of regents, established a School of Agriculture, a School of Fine Arts, and created a Department of Nursing. By 1970, the student enrollment neared 8,000, but was decreasing. The primary reasons were the changes in the selective service system and increases in tuition. The university's funding was largely enrollment-driven, and this caused serious financial problems for the school. The college radio station KWTS began broadcasting in 1972. The West Texas State athletics were in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Missouri Valley Conference, but the school decided to change its status to Division II and the Lone Star Conference in 1984. In 1986, WT President Ed Roach was the subject of protests and calls for his resignation over the amount of money spent on the campus' Presidential House. The 7,301 sq ft (678.3 m2) house cost $991,000, which was more than the $494,900 authorized by the State College Coordinating Board. In 1991, Roach was indicted for diverting scholarship money to meet other budget deficits. The university joined the Texas A&M University System on September 1, 1990, and started to use the name West Texas A&M University in 1993. The school's first president under the new system was Barry B. Thompson. Early in Thompson's tenure, he dropped the school's football program, but the program returned a year later without athletic scholarships. President Thompson was appointed Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System in 1994 and Russell C. Long became the new president. During Long's tenure, the school renovated buildings, maintained its student enrollment growth, and added its first Ph.D. in agriculture. The school had a long-term connection with T. Boone Pickens who was appointed to its Board of Regents in 1969. On March 21, 1973, Pickens resigned from the Board of Regents in protest, but was reappointed in 1981 and became its chair in 1982. He continued to chair its Board until its merger with the Texas A&M system in 1990. In 1987, he pledged a $1.5 million matching gift to endow its business school, which was named in his honor. On November 24, 2004, the school issued a press release stating that it planned to remove Pickens' name from the T. Boone Pickens College of Business after university officials came to believe he had not completed pledges he made to the university. In fact, Pickens had satisfied his pledge, but asked to have his name removed. On December 1, 2004, the then President Russell C. Long acknowledged the error and agreed to remove Pickens' name. Subsequently, Pickens donated $165 million to Oklahoma State University-Stillwater. In 2007, Pickens endowed the "Pickens Professorship of Business" and in 2010 he endowed the "Pickens Professorship of Management." The business school as a whole remains unnamed. In late 2005, Long retired from his position as the school's president, and Dr. J. Patrick Oï¿½Brien took that office in early 2006. During the tenure of President Oï¿½Brien, WTAMU has seen a surge of construction projects completed including: the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, the Hayward Spirit Tower, the Charles K. and Barbara Kerr Vaughan Pedestrian Mall, the Buffalo Sports Park (including Wilder Park and Schaeffer Field), a new entrance/climbing wall and renovations in the Virgil Hensen Activity Center, Buff Hall, Centennial Hall, Founders Hall, two new parkinglots, Victory Circle, the JBK Student Center Expansion, Classroom Center/WTBookstore renovation, Engineering and Computer Science Building renovation and the implementation of the WT Amarillo Center in Center City, Amarillo. In 2009, the University began its first ever comprehensive campaign to raise $35 million for scholarships, faculty/program support and capital projects. The campaign to date has raised more that $37 million dollars.
Anthony Armstrong, NFL American football player Davy Arnaud, American soccer player John Ayers, NFL American football player Tully Blanchard, professional wrestler Bryan Braman, NFL American football player Bruiser Brody (Frank Goodish), professional wrestler Ray Brown, NFL American football player Maurice Cheeks, NBA basketball player and coach Ted DiBiase, professional wrestler (did not graduate) Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, professional ten-pin bowler who won 20 titles on the PWBA tour and 2 more in the PBA Women's Series Manny Fernandez, professional wrestler Dory Funk Jr., professional wrestler Terry Funk, professional wrestler Stan Hansen, professional wrestler Alondra Johnson, Canadian Football League football player Steve Kragthorpe, college football head coach Kareem Larrimore, NFL American football player Ryan Leaf, NFL American football player and quarterbacks coach (faculty member) Jerry Logan, NFL American football player Charly Martin, NFL American football player Mickey Matthews, college football head coach Reggie McElroy, NFL American football player Mercury Morris, NFL American football player Keith Null, NFL American football player Dusty Rhodes, professional wrestler Khiry Robinson, NFL American football player Tito Santana (Merced Solis), professional wrestler Mike Scroggins, professional ten-pin bowler who has won 8 titles (including 2 majors) on the PBA Tour Marsha Sharp, head coach of the Texas Tech Lady Raiders basketball team Eugene Sims, NFL American football player Duane Thomas, NFL American football player Chaun Thompson, NFL American football player J'Marcus Webb, NFL American football player Barry Windham, professional wrestler (did not graduate)