CANYON, TX (KFDA) - Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp announced today that the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has named Walter V. Wendler as the sole finalist for the position of President of West Texas A&M University. Wendler was selected during a telephonic meeting of the Board of Regents.
"Dr. Wendler comes to West Texas A&M with an impressive track record of serving and growing public universities and programs," said Cliff Thomas, Chairman of the Board of Regents. "I am grateful to the search committee and Chancellor Sharp for taking the time to find a leader capable of taking this university to the next level."
"West Texas A&M University is a beautiful campus with a bright future," said Chancellor Sharp. "I believe Walter Wendler will accelerate the university's upward trajectory and make that future even brighter. I am glad he has agreed to serve in this important role, and I am honored to welcome him back to the Texas A&M family."
Wendler is Chancellor Emeritus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, which he led from 2001 to 2007. During his tenure as Chancellor, research productivity increased by 65 percent. After completing his contract, he returned to teaching architecture. He retired from his most recent position as Director of the School of Architecture at SIU at the end of 2015.
Prior to his appointment as Chancellor, Wendler served as Vice Chancellor for Planning and System Integration at the Texas A&M System. Before that, he had served as Executive Assistant to the President, Dean of the College of Architecture and other administrative and faculty roles at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Wendler earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M, and an associate's degree from the State University of New York at Farmingdale.
The WTAMU presidential search committee reviewed more than 70 applications for the position.
"The high number of applicants speaks volumes about this institution," said Don Powell, who chaired the search committee. "The committee took this difficult decision extremely seriously. It was an honor and a privilege to work with such a dedicated group of individuals. Their thorough, thoughtful approach allowed Dr. Wendler to emerge as a candidate that we feel very excited about."
WTAMU Interim President James Hallmark, who also serves at the Texas A&M System's Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, was a member of the search committee.
"Dr. Wendler is an inspired selection for the WTAMU presidency," Hallmark said. "His proven record of leadership in Illinois, his experience as an academic leader at two major universities, and his nationally recognized track record in strategic planning cause me to be even more optimistic about WTAMU's future. With his engaging personality, I'm confident the university and community will embrace him and his wife, Mary, and be thrilled by his leadership."
Wendler married Mary L. Haney in 1973. They have two married sons, Walter III and Bradley, both graduates of Texas A&M University, and five grandchildren.
Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for president at least 21 days before making an appointment. The Board of Regents will meet again to make the appointment. Wendler is expected to be ready to officially start in his new position immediately at that time.