By Larry Stalcup, Contributing Editor
No one has done more for the cattle-feeding industry than Paul Engler. And the founder of Cactus Feeders is eager to help assure that one of the nation’s leading universities conducting cattle-feeding and beef-production research is able to expand its celebrated program.
On Nov. 17, West Texas A&M University in Canyon announced the largest gift in the University’s 117-year history when the Engler and the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation agreed to donate at least $1 million per year for a period of no fewer than 80 years to the institution.
With the monumental gift, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has granted naming rights to the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business.
With the gift, $500,000 per year will go to the WT college of agriculture and natural resources and $500,000 will go to the college of business. “West Texas A&M University is the lifeblood of the Texas Panhandle,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “An investment in this institution is an investment in the future of the region. What an honor it is to become part of the legacy of Paul Engler, a man whose true grit and entrepreneurial spirit has transformed an entire industry.”
Engler said WT produced many Cactus Feeders employees over the years, and he was honored to be part of the university’s expansion. “I’m thankful for the honor of being part of this. It’s probably the highest honor I’ve ever received,” he said. “I’m thankful that the spirit of this gift will go on and on.
“The large crowd here is symbolic of the asset this university is to this 26-county area. Agriculture has been good to me. So I want it to go on.”
Engler added that WTAMU President Walter Wendler and his faculty and staff have great plans for use of the gift in helping enhance the new agricultural sciences complex. Dean Hawkins, dean of the college of agriculture and natural sciences, said the new ag sciences complex is scheduled to open fall 2018. He added that Engler Foundation gift will add much to the college’s ability to educate more youth.
“It will change the landscape of WT forever,” Hawkins said. “It is an amazing gift, and to have Paul’s name associated with the university is monumental. It gives us instant recognition. It is value-added.”