A Legacy Of Giving

If there is one family name that is familiar around campus, and specifically in the College of Business, it is Bain. It is the story of multi-generational involvement at WT, from student life to philanthropy. And it is the story of a regional bank that has come to be known in the Canyon area.

Today, Michael Bain carries the torch for banking that his father, Ray, first assumed as his responsibility over the presidency of First State Bank of Dimmitt in 1985. No sooner had Ray become President than the bank’s owner put it up for sale. Ray insisted on being given the chance to mount a buyer group, which he did. Now known as First United Bank, it has grown to not only Canyon and Amarillo, but also throughout West Texas.

Michael has elected to continue his family’s philanthropic ways at WT. “As a family, my joint efforts include those with my father and mother, my brother and sister,” he said. “We are linked to the studio in the College of Ag Sciences, the Bain Athletic Center, and one-half of the football stadium.” That’s a mouthful, but it demonstrates the level of love and commitment Michael and his family have for WT.

A 1987 transfer from Texas Tech, Michael played football at WT and graduated in 1990. “I came to WT back in 1987. I actually played on the football team back then, and enjoyed every aspect of it,” he continued. “I started out my collegiate life at TTU, and even though I enjoyed it down there, I was looking for something different. WT provided just that. It just felt like home for me…every relationship, everything.”

He majored in Ag Economics, with added emphases in Business and Finance. “Upon graduating from WT, I went to work for the Texas Department of Banking as a bank examiner. I did that for about three years, and then went straight into First United Bank. I’ve been there 31 years.” He was appointed President in 2011; his father passed away in 2013, leaving Michael to continue his father’s giving ways. Along the way, he developed a deep and abiding affinity for WT, and committed to being a major donor of all aspects of campus life.

Under Michael’s leadership, First United Bank has expanded its scholarship reach at WT. “We have nine to ten scholarships each year, and we have always used those scholarships to target them toward individuals who will make a difference,” Michael explained. “We also look at those as we scan the applications, looking for future employees and officers of FUB someday.”

Perhaps the best compliment to the Engler College of Business is Michael’s assessment of our students. “We have always been very impressed with the output of the COB. I can’t tell you how many young folks from WT we have employed, and how many success stories I have seen.”

And while monetary contributions of the Bain family are significant, perhaps those words carry the most weight. Affirmations like this don’t have a price tag.