Dr. Walter V. Wendler became the 11th president of West Texas A&M University on Sept. 15, 2016. He has a long career in education. Wendler earned his first degree, an associate in applied sciences, from the State University of New York at Farmingdale. From there he transferred to Texas A&M University and earned a bachelor's degree in environmental design. His graduate degrees include a master's in architecture from the University of California at Berkely and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas. He was an assistant professor in the College of Architecture at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. He returned to Texas A&M, where he served as professor, department head and dean of the College of Architecture. After a stint as executive assistant to the president for two years and vice chancellor of planning for The Texas A&M University System, Wendler became the chancellor of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 2001. Chancellor Wendler started the university's first capital fund-raising campaign which raised $100 million. He became the director of the School of Architecture until his retirement in 2015.
A&M System Chancellor John Sharp asked Wendler to become the new president of West Texas A&M University because he would "accelerate the university's upward trajectory and make the future even brighter." Wendler has big plans to "make the future even brighter." He became involved in attempting to repair relations between the University and Canyon. And Wendler has become extremely active in reaching out to the community. He also aided in the development of "WT 125," a plan for the 125th anniversary of the University in 2035 and includes things such as a strong campus in downtown Amarillo. Another part of the plan calls for continuing to educate the majority, close to 70 percent, of the teachers and administrators in the public schools of the Panhandle. To further this goal, the University has announced a new doctoral program in education with specific training for teachers in small school districts.
He also wants to show high school students of the Panhandle that West Texas A&M University is a viable option, so he made a tour of each of the top 26 counties speaking at 66 local high schools in 2017. He has shown concern about the cost of college and has urged high school students to consider lower cost community college classes before transferring to West Texas. He has used his expertise in fund raising to help build scholarship programs such as the Student Government Endowment. The dedication of Dr. Walter V. Wendler to higher education becomes apparent as he leads the university into its second hundred years.