Don Cates was born in Odessa, reared in San Angelo, and served in the Military where he received an Honorable Discharge in 1993. He received his Bachelor degree from Howard Payne University in 1960, his Master of Education degree from Texas Tech in 1963, and his doctorate, also from Texas Tech in 1967.
He spent more than forty years in education. His first job was a teacher of world history and general business at Lakeview High School in San Angelo in 1960. He moved to Brownfield as a teacher and coach and worked a year as an elementary principal in Slaton before beginning work on his doctorate.
While at Tech, he served as Director of Undergraduate Admissions in 1965-66 and then as Registrar in 1966-67. He designed and initiated Tech's first "coliseum type" registration. Upon receiving his doctorate in 1967, he accepted a position to become Dean of Admissions and Registrar at West Texas State in Canyon where we worked from 1967 to 1985.
He was responsible for several firsts at West Texas State. He initiated an early admission's program for academically talented high school students while still in high school, initiated the University's orientation, advising and pre-registration for beginning freshmen, and converted the university's record from a 3-point to o 4.0 grade point system. During his time at West Texas State, Don was elected President of TACRAO during 1972-73.
He resigned from his Dean's Position and served as a Marketing Executive for the Higher Education Servicing Corporation in Arlington and was quite successful in getting eight new lenders during his first six months of employment. Three of these are ten million dollar annual lenders.
He returned to the campus in 1987 where he became Dean of Admissions and Executive Director of Student Affairs at the University of Texas-Permian Basin. In June of 1988, he accepted a position as Associate Dean of Students and Registrar at Midland College and remained there until his retirement in February of this year.
His duties in TACRAO were many: Member of the High School-College Relations Committee 1967-1969; Treasurer 1968-1971, Member of Executive Committee 1968-1974, Member of the Legislative Committee 1969, Member of the Long Range Planning Committee in 1970, served as President Elect in 1971 and as President in 1972-73.He has also been active in community organizations and was a 1992 graduate of Leadership Midland. Don, for your contributions, vision, and professionalism to the association and friendships you made as you mentored others through the years, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to award you honorary membership in TACRAO.