WT to begin renovations on new lab after $100,000 ‘gift’ from Wellington State Bank

Local News

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A prominent West Texas A&M University lab is getting a renovation thanks to a $100,000 donation from Wellington State Bank, according to a news release from WT’s Communication Dept.

The new lab will be known as the Wellington State Bank Cybersecurity Lab, with the release explaining that the bank has locations in 14 Texas towns, including Canyon and its namesake, Wellington.

“We are proud to partner with a great institution like WT to provide a meaningful educational program in such an invaluable realm of our industry,” said Richard Sims, president and CEO of Wellington State Bank and a 1980 WT graduate. “Cybersecurity is essential for anybody dealing with other people’s money. We have to do everything we can to keep the worst from happening to our customers.”

According to Dr. Amjad Abdullat, dean of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, the lab will “provide and highly active source of cybersecurity knowledge for Texas Panhandle students, citizens, businesses and local government.”

“We appreciate the generous donation and the collaborative effort with Wellington State Bank represented by these scholarships and the naming of the newly established lab,” Abdullat said. “The lab will allow our faculty to perform research in this cutting-edge field. The scholarship will enable our students to pursue their academic education and make a huge difference in achieving their goals.”

Collaborations between the University and regional businesses are essential “to delivering expert knowledge to the Panhandle region and perfectly reflect the vision of WT 125,” said James Webb, vice president for IT and chief information officer.

“The partnership between IT and the Engler College of Business is a strong example of academics working together with industry professionals to not only enhance research, but to provide the latest guidance and best practices to our region,” Webb said.

In addition, the donation is part of a two scholarship endowment for students major in business or agricultural business and economics who are planning a career in banking.

WT named Ryan Cordell, senior finance major from Choctaw, Oklahoma, as the first recipient, and Branson Cruse, junior agricultural business and economics major from Turkey, as the second recipient.

“We’re glad that this gift also can help students finish their degrees,” Sims said. “In the long haul, we hope this will enhance the workforce in the banking industry, especially in rural communities. We have locations in 10 rural towns in our region, so we know it can sometimes be challenging to find qualified employees who want to move to smaller locations.”

“We are very grateful for the partnership with Wellington State Bank in providing scholarships to students studying business and agriculture,” said Dr. Kevin Pond, dean of the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences. “This scholarship helps deserving students reach their goals and become productive contributors to society upon graduation.”

According to WT, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised about $85 million.

“Investments from our corporate partners is an important recognition of the quality of programs provided by WT,” said Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice present for philanthropy and external relations. “Wellington State Bank’s gift adds strength and credibility to the business program offerings in the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business. Students will study and learn from faculty in a named space that exemplifies this important partnership.”

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