COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is honoring long-time donors and supporters of the Texas 4-H program by renaming one of its buildings in their honor.
The agency’s South Campus building at Texas A&M University, College Station,will be named the Richard and Patsy Wallrath Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Building. Richard Wallrath is an entrepreneur and rancher whose life was the subject of a 2011 feature-length film.
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved the renaming Aug. 16. A dedication event will be held Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. at the building.
The 47,000-plus square-foot facility, located at 1470 William D. Fitch Parkway in College Station, is home to several offices including Texas 4-H, Texas 4-H Foundation, Family and Community Health, the Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership program and the V.J. Young Institute of County Government.
“We can think of few individuals who have contributed as much, financially and personally, to the Texas 4-H program as Richard Wallrath and his wife Patsy. They are incredibly worthy of this honor,” said Dr. Parr Rosson, interim director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Texas 4-H, administered by AgriLife Extension, is the largest youth development program in the state, serving more than 650,000 youth. The Wallrath’s, through their Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation, have a long history of providing scholarships and other support for youth involved in 4-H and FFA.
Richard Wallrath, who turned 88 this year, grew the small Houston-based company Champion Windows into a nationally recognized brand. He sold the company for more than $66 million, then donated one-third of that sales price to charitable causes, including $7 million to the Houston Livestock Show and $3 million to FFA and 4-H charities.
In 2006, he established the Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation – funding over $6 million in scholarships to date in addition to making gifts to both 4-H and the FFA.
This year during the 71st 4-H Roundup in College Station, members of Texas 4-H took home more than $2.4 million in scholarships. Of those scholarships, Wallrath donated 35 individual $10,000 scholarships from the Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation, making his foundation the largest individual contributor. In addition, Wallrath is the largest individual donor in the history of the Texas 4-H Youth Development Program.
Wallrath also recently placed his 5,000-plus acre Champion Ranch in Centerville up for international sale. The proceeds from that anticipated multi-million-dollar sale will be distributed between the 4-H Youth Development Foundation and FFA. The sale includes all ranch property, including more than 1,000 purebred Brangus cattle and award-winning horses. It also includes 100 percent of all oil and gas well rights and all rights and future royalties from the anticipated sequel to “Deep in the Heart,” the 2011 movie depicting his life.