CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – A legacy gift from an Amarillo couple with a passion for education, the University reports, will establish a new endowment at West Texas A&M University.
WTAMU Foundation officials announced recently that a donation from Bob and Lanna Hatton is one of the first gifts in a recently launched capital fundraising campaign for the University.
The Bob and Lanna Hatton Education Endowment Fund, the University says, will be used for the improvement of the quality of educators and educational programs that impact as many students as possible, said Lesly Annen, assistant vice president for leadership gifts and development. It will provide opportunities for pre-service teachers, in-service teachers and other educators to acquire knowledge and gain access to programs that will result in higher educational attainment for students.
“As part of the quiet phase of the West Texas A&M University Foundation’s $125 million fundraising campaign, we are securing and recognizing gifts of $1 million or more made to benefit people, programs and places at WT,” Annen said. “Education is their philanthropic passion, and through the WT Foundation, they have made an incredible legacy gift by donating their entire estate.”
“The history of the University is really closely tied to education,” said Dr. Neil Terry, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs, “so the Hatton gift will really become a legacy gift that will support the next generation of teachers.”
The Hattons graduated high school in Amarillo before attending Texas Tech University and living around the country, moving several times with Bob Hatton’s job with Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. Lanna Hatton earned a master’s degree in learning disability and behavioral disorders and taught in several schools before the couple returned to Amarillo in 2001.
After connecting with WT upon their return, the couple funded the Lanna Hatton Professor of Learning Disabilities, a position currently filled by Dr. Michelle Simmons.
The Hattons’ generosity did not end there. After reviewing their estate planning, Bob and Lanna felt they wanted to leave a legacy that was devoted to educating educators, leading to the new Bob and Lanna Hatton Education Endowment Fund.
They arrived at that decision “after many years of thought and study and talking back and forth about how we’d like our money spent when we’re gone,” Bob Hatton said. “I can’t think of anything more important in life than education.”
The endowment fund is a perfect example of the Hattons’ generosity and passion for education, said Dyke Rogers, chair of the campaign fundraising leadership committee.
“I think whenever you make a gift, it’s both important to the institution that you’re giving it to, but it’s also important to you,” Rogers said. “You can do what you’d like to do and leave a legacy that you’d like to leave. It gives you a chance to produce a program that excels.”
Philanthropic gifts are reported to be a keystone of WT’s future financial stability and an important aspect of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.
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