Submitted by Dr. John T. Baker (her son); from her written memories She died in 2009 at the age of 102.
College Days at West Texas State Teachers College After graduating from Hereford High School in the spring of 1924, I looked forward to entering West Texas State Teacher's College in Canyon. Though fairly close to home, this would be an exciting adventure. I would be--and was--the first person in my whole family to attend college, and would eventually be the first person in my family to graduate from college. In the fall of 1924... Read more.
Submitted by Dr. John T. Baker (his nephew); from his written memories
West Texas State Normal College - THE MILITARY AND CUTTING MY FINGER OFF
In 1918, most healthy young men were being encouraged to enlist to fight in what was then still known as The Great War. We were torn between joining up and/or finishing college. After finishing the previous school year at West Texas Normal School, my hometown friend Roderick Baucam and I decided to enlist at Canyon for military service. I was living with older brother Cleve [a teacher at the Normal School], his wife Ruth, and their two children, Ruth and JC. I joined the Army Air Corps to keep from being drafted. I would go on to Kelly Field [later Air Force Base] in San Antonio, and who knows what excitement after that. The Army gave me a two-week waiting period before sending me off to San Antonio. So I went to work for a farmer named Mr. Brown, who also we rented a house from where we all lived on his farm. I would be harvesting crops on land that is now part of the City Park today... Read more.
West Texas State University was a great place for me to gain my B. S. degree. I was a graduate of Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D. C. (where Clinton and Obama sent their kids) and did some graduate schooling at Clark University and Harvard Business School. By far, my greatest learning growth came from WT and life in the Panhandle prepared me better for my own life experiences than anything else I've done. Read more.
The two photos below are of Jim and Prissy (Harris) Cook leaving for the prom in April, 1960 and the other is in the same spot 50 years later. This wasn’t just their first date, it was Prissy’s very first date. They live in Amarillo. Prissy’s dad was the assistant football coach and she used to live in Buff Courts.
Name: Suzanne Rogers
Matilda Guame, Houston Bright, Dr Garner made being a music major an exciting learning time in Fine Arts Building. I was in the choir when we sang the alma matre when West Texas State College became West Texas State University. I got to accompany Royal Brantley on piano when he preformed excerpts from "The King and I" for civic groups. One of my daughters even took ballet in FAB and she and her future husband studied fine arts in that building. My experience in my only introduction to art class with Claudia Neeley wasn't very good the day I accidentally spilled very permanent black ink all over my red skirt.
Like most people in Industrail Distribution, I worked through school. Coming home from Sears Auto in Amarillo a friend and i heard there was a special event on campus! We rushed in about 10 pm on a Wednesday night and then to the front of the library to act as diversion for KA as they "Streaked the Library". The campus police went north and the 'Streakers' went south; then here comes a 'streaking girl'---on horseback --- sock mask and hat. We all knew the horse and therefore the girl. My new wife came with me in 'rollers' and a housecoat. Luckily she didn't jump out and streak too.
I arrived at W T in the spring of 1975 on a football recruiting visit. It was my first trip to the state of Texas from my home in Fort Lauderdale Florida. My football host was Mike Lusane(RIP) from Akron Ohio.He took me all over the "Amarillo/Canyon" metro. I still don't know all the places we went but that weekend WT seemed like fun place to be. My first question was" Where are all the Black people"?I committed to Coach Mayfield during that recruiting trip that weekend. What learned was that you need a coat in Texas? I didn't own a coat. The tumble weeds I saw on television were real, and yes it can snow on the first day of May. During those years there was nothing at the university for Black students.It was really like you were from the city and got invited to a square dance. Thanks God for my fraternity Omega Psi Phi we created social events for students. The social environment is such a big part of the overall college experience. In Athletics I remember winning the conference football championship in 1977. Yes WTSU was the Mo Valley Champs.(it is still difficult for me to say West Texas A&M) but we all must change. Academically I remember my marketing professor Dr. Rusty Brooks giving me the confidence to persue the degree in marketing. By the way we had a great business school. At the end of the day college isn't really about the buildings (but I love what is going on with the building on campus) it really is about the shared experinces with the people you meet along the way.Your college friends are life long. In Canyon I met people that was radically different from myself and different from the people of South Florida. I now have a little of that "Panhandle grit" that has helped me in this journey we call life. There is a saying in our Frat" If you can make it in Canyon, you can make it anywhere". The members of my fraternity Omega Psi Phi return to Canyon every other year. We also give scholarships to students to attend W T throught the G Wilson Foundation.Looking forward to being at Homecoming for the 100 year anniversary. Go BUFFS!!!
Name: Donna Robinson-Taylor(NEW)
I lived in Hudspeth Hall both freshman and sophomore year. Hudspeth was an upper classman dorm at the time, however it was great. I lived in Unit J and Room #4. We had room check at midnight. My roommate was from Big Springs,Texas. I pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority during my sophmore year in Hudspeth Hall. In the fall of 1975,I moved to Ruth Cross, air conditioning at last.
The people of WTSU: they shaped my life forever. Jim Holston (of blessed memory), director of the Student Activities Council was my mentor, teaching me people skills and tolerance. Bill Lee (of blessed memory) and Sara Stone allowing me to explore journalism and freedom of expression. Paul Matney, Jamey Neill and all the people at KWTS who made my future career a fun-filled adventure of learning. There are so many more teachers and fellow students to mention, if time permitted. The memories of all were truly pivotal in my maturation into adulthood. It could not have happened at any other university. WT was the right place at the right time.
Name: PJ Pronger
I used to play pickup basketball in the activities center along with a lot of other students. On many occassions we would see Maurice Cheeks, a WT basketball player, on the court practicing free throws for hours on end. I was impressed with his dedication and self discipline whenever he gave up the fun stuff to concentrate on improving his skills. WT played in Division I at the time, and the basketball team travelled to Louisville to take on the nationally ranked Cardinals. In the final seconds of a close game, Cheeks sank 2 free throws to win the game and the following Monday WT was ranked #18 in the country. Cheeks went on to greatness, first schooling Phil Ford, a highly touted guard from North Carolina, in the Pizza Hut Classic (to the amazement of TV commentator Brent Musburger), then going on to play for the Philadelphia 76ers and winning the NBA championship in 1983 by sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers n the finals and losing only one game in the entire playoffs.
Name: Martha G. Williams
My family and I got to go to a celebration of the Class of 1910 which honored my paternal grandmother and her classmates. I was only eight years old, but I still remember it. I remember feeling proud of my grandmother. Her name was Emma Grace Jameson (Phillips).
Name: Milton Smith
I use to watch the Dallas Cowboys play the New York Giants. My favoriate player was a running back for the Giants, Rocky Thompson. He had a big Fro that was too much to fit under his helmet. When I was recruted to WT in the Spring of 1976, My hero, Rocky Thompson was introduced during the indoor track meet in the AC. I told my high school teammate, "I did not know he went here." I watched the Buffs and Mo Cheeks beat Tulsa on TV while while on that recruting visit also. My high school head coach, Lee Herrington, coached football at WT. One of the Assistant football coaches and JV basketball coach, Joe Moore was from Canyon. They influenced me to change my commitment to Texas AT Arlington to WT. There were seventeen freshmen football players that showed up to two-a-days football practice under Coach Mayfield. Most of those guys left when Coach Mayfield was replaced by coach Bill Yung. Nothing has ever brought me more joy than wearing my issued sweat suit that read WTFB across the chest. I was on the scout team and homecoming 1977, another player and myself wore the same number-88-during the game. Dr. Paul Matney asked me monday in class, "...who was that other 88?" My senior year I lost my football scholarship. I cried in church every sunday and got a job serving ice cream in the cafateria to help pay for my senior year. Besides all the crying I did on Sundays, I was president of the Afro American Association. At homecoming, I set up a booth that won first prize for something called laughs unlimited, gaurenteed to laugh or your money back. I had my own Radio show on KWTS 91, Music For Lovers, I did Stand-up comedy at the MET in the AC to standing room only crowds. I had been president of our chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. I was Vice President of the Fellowship of Christian athletes. When I graduated In May of 1980, none of the original seventeen ball players stood with me. In 1989 I got a Masters from WT. I have tried to maintain a membership in the Alumni Association since I left. I can not remember the last homecoming I've missed. My Fraternity Brothers and I set up the Gillespie Wilson Scholarship Foundation to give scholarships to Buffs. Homecoming is going to big in 2010 and I would not miss it for the world. Go Buffs!
Name: Wendi Ball Sims '82
I was a Buffalo Belle, the "Little Sisters" of the Herdsmen. I loved the football games! All of us had LOUD bells that we rang! I was once nearly trampled by the mascot when it got away from the handlers! There were Christmas traditions of leading the caroling at the lighting of Old Main. I was in the Acapella Choir in 83-84. We were invited to sing at the American Choral Directors Association in Nashville my first year. We sang an impromptu song in the "parthenon" in Centennial Park. We sounded like a choir of angels! My second year, we were invited to be in a student program. We spent two weeks as Ambassadors in Austria and Hungary. Hungary was still communist at the time. There were soldiers at all concerts monitoring the crowd and us? The audience was not allowed to give standing ovations. Instead, they clapped and stomped slowly, then faster, and slowly again. God Bless America for our rights and freedoms! God bless WT for the opportunities it gave me!
In the fall of 1983, I was working as a work-study in the speech department in the FAB. My husband-to-be was the manager of KWTS. We met in the FAB, and had our first date to go see Rick Springfield in concert. We were married a year and a half later. Incidentally, my husband and I painted the black room on the first floor...the walls were white prior to 1983.
Name: Vicki Heck
Wonderful Professors guided me in an education stretching my limits to become more than I ever dreamed. They provided the stepping stones for me to make a dream come true. And because of their guidance and direction, I was able to go to work everyday. Work is the key word here because with the education obtained at WT (back in those days), I did not go to "work" - I was doing something EVERYDAY that seemed like play!
There are few cardinal rules in theatre yet to remain unbroken, but the memory I immediately think of during my time as one of the first musical theatre majors at WT in the Fall of 1992 involved one: Never call "line" during a dress rehearsal. Unfortunately one of us never got the memo. Friends told me during a final dress rehearsal for the production of "Grapes Of Wrath,”, one of our young actors came onstage and promptly called "line.” For a moment everyone stood on the stage and gasped. My friend and fellow theatre major Bruce Shatney was the first to speak up. "Line??" he asked incredulously. Leave it to the quick-witted Keith Vilyard to make one of the best saves in theatre history: "Lyin'?! We ain't lyin', we're goin' to California!!"
There are so many memories to chose from, but one that stands out was the night the fire alarms went off twice in one night at Shirley Hall. It was freezing that night. I think there might have even been snow on the ground. The first time we all went outside and were standing around in the cold. The second time we just sat in the breezeway waiting for it to be clear! Those of us that had early morning classes were not very happy. Good memories though.
Freshman year in the dorms was so exciting and interesting. I first went to WT right out of high school where I had grown up in a very small community. WT seemed huge and all the new people I saw when I first arrived sure was scary. I remember meeting the girls at Cousin's Hall. They were all great girls! After a couple of weeks of being scared and unsure about college life, I was able to settle in and make lots of great friends and memories. Living in the dorms and having all the fun we had with meetings, hall council, parties and sleepovers sure did make my stay at WT a wonderful experience. I am so happy that I was able to stick with it and follow my dreams! WT is a great place and I am so happy to be an alumni from here. My husband will graduate this May and we are so excited! WE are so happy to be PROUD BUFFS!
Name: Irene Chavarria Lopez
I was only 20 and I had more then I could imagine in my life. I was years away from graduating but was excited to have so much in just my second year of school as a sophmore. I was a canadiate for Homecoming Queen. I was President of the Hispanic Assocaition and I was engaged to the love of my life. A man I meant during a meeting of a WT organization we were both a part of. Everything was perfect. WT was going under a lot of changes too. New buildings were being made or talk about new additions to some were coming to the surface. WT gave me more then just a place to learn. It gave me a place to find myself. As I strieved to be the leader I always wanted to be, WT gave me the tools to realize my goals, especially for an organization I cared about. I wanted to grow as a person and WT gave me just that. It never limited me as to how far I could go. It taught me that a leader has to be someone who can learn from their mistakes and use that to make things better not keep them down. It taught me that this is a school that cares about who you are and cares about what you have to say. My greatest memories of WT are the ones that remind me that if you push yourself hard enough and you want things bad enough anything is possible. WT will find a way to help you. Go buffs!
When I first stepped on to WT's campus as a junior in high school I knew this was where I was meant to be. I have had so many memories from meeting the love of my life, to making lasting friendships to finding my passion. My favorite memory was when I was a freshman and we were 6-0 heading in to the next game and all the the buzz was the goal posts coming down after the win. I remember sitting in the stands with all these people I barely knew who were fellow students and watching the clock wind down to our win. When we finally won and I followed those same students onto the field and to the goal post, it was a rush. I had never had a winning football team to root for, it felt so good to be on the field with our team showing pride in our team. That's something I can share with my kid and is only one of the many times I was proud to say "I'm a BUFF." I know with graduation just around the corner all of my best memories are at the forefront of my mind but I know that choosing WT was the best decision I made.
Name: Melanie Mahaffey '11
I remeber on my second day of class at WT I didn't know anyone in Canyon yet. Then as I was headed in to the JBK to wait for my next class I see one of my friends from back home... I had no idea she would be here and was so overjoyed to see a familiar face.
My great aunt attended West Texas when it was known as West Texas Teachers College. When I found that tidbit of information out it was a driving force that I would attend WTSU. WT was my place to become who I wanted to be. No one from my high school was going to WT and I was excited about being there knowing its history and significance. Buff Branding was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the campus and then the next year I was able to assist with Buff Branding. It was AWESOME! I didn't finish my degree at WT due to getting married and moving, but I was estatic when I discovered I could get an online Master's degree. It took three years, and it was a great feeling when I graduated. I took off from work so that I could come home. Though I was not in an actual classroom, my dad supported the WT Buffs football team for me. The day before he died, he was at a game and having a blast. Thanks for all the great times at WT. Hopefully my children will follow suit to attend such a wonderful campus. Thank you for being in the Pahandle of Texas and providing a great school with Texas pride.
I came to WTAMU in the fall of 2005. I had attended three other colleges/universities before, but WT was the only one where I felt like there was lots of opportunity for me. I met a girl in speech class in the old Fine Arts Building that semester. We ended up having another class together the following spring. We started dating then and dated for the next 3 years. After I graduated in 2008 and got a good job, I carefully crafted my plan. She was a reporter then and I had her boss send her on a bogus story. He told her to go to the old Fine Arts Building in Canyon because they were going to demolish it. There wasn't a demolition, but there was a nervous young man with flowers and a ring ready to propose... She said "yes"!
During 2009 homecoming the band “Safety Suit” made my month. They played incredible music and my friends (Mayra Covarubias, Vanessa Reyes, Adriana Barba, Ema Zermeno, and the ODPHI boys) were all in unison listening and enjoying the show. While the band played my friends lifted me in the air. It was tons of fun and a great way to end the bonfire. It is one of my favorite memories, music brought us together.
Name: Erika Dupree
The memory I will forever cherish at West Texas is making it to the DII National Championship Game in 2009 in volleyball. I play on West Texas volleyball team and I love every minute of it. Even though we put in long hours in the classroom and on the court, getting 2nd in the nation makes it all worth it. This year we had a new coach, Jason Skoch and we definitely wouldn't of gotten as far if it wasn't for him and our wonderful coaching staff Sarah Carthel and Dana. The 2009 season was a long journey of hard practices, top teams to beat, long travel trips, wonderful fans, and great teammates. We also have a marvelous booster staff to help with food and equipment. I will never forgot the year we beat out over 200+ DII schools to make it to the final game. It was a dream come true.
Name: Isaac Martinez
It was my senior year at WT and the Buffs had a football contest against #1 undefeated ACU Wildcats. The year before, WT was 0-2 against ACU and so I thought would it be sweet to witness revenge in Wildcat land, especially on their homecoming. So, the fiancee and I decided to make a trip down to Abilene to watch this "big" game. We had met up with a couple more fellow WT students and close friends at the game in hopes to witnessing the same thing. We couldn't ask for better weather for football...nice and warm. Needless to say, we were pumped for this game. After much intense action in the first half, the Buffs were down by 2 which that feeling had come to mind that we were going to pull this off and told my fiancee and friends about my prediction. Even more intense action in the 2nd half had made this trip worth while. With the Buffs pulling off the upset with the score of 32-21. it will remain in my mind the last sweet memory during my time at WT along with walking the stage in December. GO BUFFS!!!
Name: Sarah Newton
I remember marching with the WT Buffalo Marching Band for the first time. As a musician from a small town, I was so honored to perform with such a large and talented group. We worked so hard during practices to get the great sound and form we had. I will always remember the time and effort, the performances, the friends, and the experience I had in the fall of 2009. We truly are "The Sound of West Texas". I look forward to continuing marching with WT's great musicians.
It started to snow, a real snow, the first time in my life and it stuck to the ground for what felt like forever. The next day class was cancelled and the whole school looked like a blank slat waiting to be messed with. My friends and I were out having fun; building snowmen, having snowball fights, and just marvelling at how the world looked the same but totally different at the same time.
Unlike some other gradute students who enjoyed the Canyon and the beautiful campus of WTAMU for long time, my story is a little bit different. I came to join WTAMU for only one year (May 2009 to May 2010) as a visiting faculty (post doctorate) in the dryland agriculture institute. I am very thankful to the higher education of Pakistan who sponsored me for my study at WTAMU, otherwise, I will not be able to became a BUFF of this university. Now I am very proud to be the student-BUFF at WT. I never thought I would be able to get my post doctorate from this esteemed university. It was a very difficult situation coming to the panhandle from Pakistan, but when I reached Rick Husband International Airport (May 28, 2009) all my worries left when I met with my advisor, the hall of fame award holder and the kind, Dr. B.A. Stewart, director of the dryland agricullture institute and distinguished professor... Read more.