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A Bird's Eye View of the Future

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Awe-Inspiring Grace

Turning Problems to Solutions

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It's in the Bag

Making Everyday Matter

The Best in the West

Creating Harmony at Texas Tech

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In "Klein'd" to Care

Dive Bombed by a Kite

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Akers of Love

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Innovative Minds

Getting the Most of Your Beef

Sustainability on the South Plains

A Competitive Edge

Success without Studying

50th Annual National Collegiate Soils Contest Gets Dirty

Overseas with the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team

Striving for Honor in the Pursuit of Excellence





Cultivating Student's Futures

Story by Jake Grinnell


While attending college, you get the chance to meet and develop relationships with professors that could quite possibly change your life. For Texas Tech students, these opportunities are plentiful and the professors are eager and willing to help you out in any way possible. Unfortunately, two years ago the university lost one of its most inspiring and accomplished faculty members, Jean Kavanagh, to a battle with cancer. A memorial scholarship fund has been set up to honor her dedication to her students, so she may continue to touch their lives well into the future.

Kavanagh was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University in 1976. She then continued on to Cornell University to attain a master’s in Landscape Architecture in 1982. She joined the Tech faculty in 1990 as an associate professor in the landscape architecture department.

Former student of Kavanagh’s, and landscape architecture major, Zach Gilbert, said he remembers being impressed by her demeanor and professionalism.

“I remember going into the class for the first time thinking that this class was going to be pretty hard to swallow,” said Gilbert, “but after being in the class for a little while, I quickly realized that Mrs. Kavanagh was going to make sure that we got the material.”
hard to swallow,” said Gilbert, “but after being in the class for a little while, I quickly realized that Mrs. Kavanagh was going to make sure that we got the material.”

Zach also said  he was glad to see there was a scholarship being formed in her name.
“When you meet a professor that actually cares about you learning the material and succeeding, it makes you see them as an actual person. You only want the best for them and I’m really glad that Mrs. Kavanagh will be remembered in this way.”

Apart from teaching students, Kavanagh was also very active in the community and served as an officer in organizations such as the Horticultural Therapy Association, Sigma Alpha National Landscape Architecture Honor Society and the Texas Chapter of the ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects). Kavanagh was also at the forefront of developing designs for therapeutic landscapes such as healing gardens, restorative environments and green spaces. This research led to her being recognized during the Centennial ASLA Meeting in Boston, Mass., where she was inducted into the College of Fellowes of the ASLA.

Current member of the ASLA and contributor to the Therapeutic Landscapes Network Blog, Naomi Sachs, had this to say in response to the loss of Kavanagh.

“The first time I met Jean was at a workshop on healing gardens in Portland, OR. She was vivacious, funny, smart as a whip, and had a wonderful Molly Ivins-esque no-nonsense approach. She has been an important leader in the field of landscape architecture and research-based design, and she will be missed.”

Kavanagh’s legacy will live on in its physical form through her memorial scholarship, but her real legacy will exist through the memories she instilled in the students and faculty that had the opportunity to meet her.