Here in the Amarillo area, we've got two pretty good-sized places for education after high school. Obviously, the big one is West Texas A&M University in Canyon.

They've had a TON of people come out of that school that have gone on to be famous or hold high-profile jobs that we know about.

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What about the other college in the area, Amarillo College? Here's a college that is widely, and often, recognized as one of the best small colleges in America. I mean, even Bill Gates' ex dropped a sizeable donation on them due to their track record.

So how many famous people have come out of Amarillo College? Not as many as WTAMU, but I want to highlight a few that may surprise you.


I know, Susan Gibson is not a household name. However, something she did is very widely known and loved. Susan is a singer/songwriter who has been recording music professionally since 2003. While you may or may not know her solo stuff, there is one song you most likely DO know, and probably know all the words to it.

Gibson was the original writer of the Dixie Chicks' breakthrough hit, "Wide Open Spaces". She first wrote the song back in 1993, five years before The Chicks even recorded it. According to Wikipedia, she wrote the lyrics down in a notebook during a visit home before she left to continue her education in Montana. Her mother found it and sent it in a care package to her. That inspired Susan to write a song wrapped around leaving home.

Long story short, the father of The Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines got his hands on it and presented it to the group. They road-tested the song, audiences loved it, the record label loved it, and the rest is history.


This one is for my UFC fans. Frey was born in Arkansas, but grew up here in the Texas Panhandle, even graduating from Palo Duro High School. Frey got eyes on her after defeating Darla Harris in an MMA fight that ultimately went viral.

That spurred Invicta FC to give her a contract where she ultimately went on to become the Atomweight champion with a successful title defense. This isn't where the story ends. Frey caught the eye of Dana White and UFC, the pinnacle for MMA fighters.

Frey made her UFC debut in June 2020 with a loss to Kay Hansen, and would also lose her next bout against Loma Lookboonmee in October. Things would start to turn around for her after that fight as she gained her first victory against Gloria de Paula in 2021. That would be enough to keep her on the circuit. She's had some mixed results since then but gets a chance to turn it around this year as she's scheduled to battle Elise Reed on June 3rd for UFC Fight Night 226.

Ben Sargent / Texas Observer
Ben Sargent / Texas Observer


Unless you're an old-school political head, this name may not ring a bell, but Sargent carved out a pretty nice career after attending Amarillo College in the late 60s. After attending AC, he finished his degree at the University of Texas in 1970.

After that, he started drawing editorial cartoons for the Austin-American Statesman in 1974. They were so good, that they began to be distributed by Universal Press Syndicate to other newspapers around the country.

He would retire in 2009 and his cartoons are still findable all over.


Kenon was a basketball player who attended Amarillo College from 1970-1972, then transferred to Memphis from 1972-1973 to wrap up his college playing career. After school, Kenon was drafted in the 3rd round of the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons.

Kenon was an extremely good player in the league, averaging over 20 points per season four different times. He played in both the NBA and ABA during his 11-year career and played for five different teams. He wrapped up a successful career averaging over 17 points and just shy of 9 rebounds per game over his career. He even participated in the ABA Slam Dunk contest in 1976.

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