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Cody Myers to Receive WTAMU Distinguished Alumnus Award
First article in a series of three on WTAMU's 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients
CANYON, Texas—One would be hard pressed to put a figure to the number of students he has influenced and encouraged through the years, but there is no doubt that Cody Myers’ passion for music has touched many lives. That is one of the many reasons why he has been named the recipient of a 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award at West Texas A&M University.
Each year the WTAMU Alumni Association presents its Distinguished Alumnus Award to successful WTAMU graduates who contribute time and support to the University and to humanitarian causes. And Myers is one of three recipients who will be recognized June 8 at the University’s 50th annual Phoenix Banquet.
Myers, director of fine arts for the Amarillo Independent School District (AISD), said he was “floored” by the announcement that he was a recipient. But friends and colleagues knew he was the perfect candidate for the prestigious award. Nominations opened in late October, and letters of recommendation flooded the alumni office. In fact, the WTAMU Alumni Association received almost 40 letters touting the praises of Myers and his impact as a leader in music education.
“Without a doubt, Cody Myers remains a musical benchmark within the Texas educational ranks,” C. Doyle Gammill, retired director of fine arts for the Lubbock Independent School District, said. “He has plowed the fields of knowledge successfully and has assisted hundreds, yea thousands, of students and fine arts instructors. This outstanding individual is well revered by his peers and has held just about every state music office and has received just about every honor and accolade that is available statewide.”
Gammill’s observations are supported by Myers’ recognition as a leader in music education. He shares his expertise as a director, administrator, mentor, educator, contest judge, clinician and motivator locally and across the state and region. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2012 Lifetime Administrator Achievement Award of Outstanding Commitment to Music Education and has proudly served on the boards of several professional organizations including the Texas Bandmasters Association Board of Directors.
Myers came to WTAMU in the mid 70s as a first-generation student. College was a new experience for his family, but he knew the University in Canyon was the place for him. He had attended band camp at WTAMU during the summers and liked what he found here.
“I’m a band nerd,” Myers said, “and the musical experience at WT was incredible. I was sold.”
He graduated from high school with a scholarship and headed to what was then West Texas State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1979 and a master’s in education in 1987. He taught in Tulia, Dimmitt, Dumas and Midland before being named director of fine arts for the Amarillo Independent School District 15 years ago. He has spent his entire career sharing his love and passion for music with students of all ages. He’s known to go above and beyond to help music programs grow and improve.
“I could list numerous examples of the passion Cody bring to this district,” Daniel Coward, AISD assistant superintendent, personnel, said. “However, I will mention just one—his desire for every student to have the opportunity to have a quality experience through fine arts and that no child is without an instrument when participating in a band or orchestra class.”
In fact, one of his many accomplishments at AISD is the “Play Your Way to Success” program. With funding through AISD and local philanthropic organizations, this program has provided more than 900 band and orchestra instruments for students entering the instrumental program with instrument support through the middle school years. It offers increased and equitable opportunities for at-risk students to benefit from instrumental music training.
Colleagues from across the region consider Myers an outstanding clinician and resource for all music teachers. He spends a great deal of time every year working with bands, orchestras and choirs in preparation for UIL competition, and conducts workshops and clinics for music educators as well. He also devotes time to his alma mater, serving as a guest lecturer and clinician while supporting the University’s musical groups by attending concerts and recitals.
“He is a man of profound integrity and character,” Gary Angell, executive director of student performance with AISD, said. “Everything I know about marching band and orchestra performance is a result of his patient teaching and enthusiastic dedication to these endeavors. He is exemplary in every respect.”
Myers and fellow award recipients Ed Wright and J. Evetts Haley Sr. (posthumous) will be honored at the June 8 Phoenix Banquet during the University’s Summer Alumni Reunion (wtamu.edu/reunion). Reservations for the banquet are $40 per person. For more information or to make reservations, call 806-651-2311.