Texas Tech University

Professorships & Chairs

B.L. Allen Endowed Chair in Soil Science

Daniel HirmasHOLDER: Daniel Hirmas; est. 2002
The primary objective of the B. L. Allen Endowed Chair in Soil Science is to strive for excellence in the fields of pedology and/or soil mineralization. Pedology is defined as the study of soil development processes and resultant profile morphology. Soil mineralogy is defined as the composition of the inorganic solids in soils. This type of endowment in pedology is quite rare in the United States and allows me the flexibility to conduct research that would not otherwise be possible. Pedology is fraught with many questions that need to be answered, but may fall short of a major research grant that would be funded by the National Science Foundation, etc. Thus, I can use funding from the endowment to fill these needs. The endowment is flexible and designed to support the faculty member selected to fill the position and his/her research interests. This has taken the form of supporting the development of new applications for proximal sensors used in support of quantitative pedology. These technologies include: visible near infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and electromagnetic induction. The endowment has been used to support the production of numerous research manuscripts published in top notch journals such as the Soil Science Society of America Journal and Geoderma, supported travel for the Soils Judging Team to attend regional and national competitions, supported travel for research expeditions, and provided t-shirts for 100 participants in the first ever International Soil Judging Competition at the World Congress of Soil Science in South Korea.

Bayer CropScience Endowed Chair

Benildo de los ReyesHOLDER: Benildo de los Reyes; est. 2004
Funds from the endowment benefit major crop enhancement research, specifically in the area of molecular genetic enhancement, with an emphasis on cotton.

Dr. Donald and Sammie Bricker Endowed Chair in Wildlife Management

Warren ConwayHOLDER: Warren Conway; est. 2005
The professor selected to hold the Bricker Chair will have a nationally recognized reputation in wildlife management with expertise in wildlife eco-systems and habitats, wildlife hunting as a means of recreation and conservation-minded harvesting, and a background in sustainable wildlife populations. The professor's work will concentrate on teaching and research in these areas. Funds realized from the endowment will be dedicated to facilitate and enhance the professor's work toward significant, applicable research and effective teaching.

Burnett Foundation Endowed Professorship in Quail Ecology

Brad DabbertHOLDER: Brad Dabbert; est. 2013
The Burnett Foundation has generously supported the establishment of The Burnett Foundation Endowed Professorship in Quail Ecology. This professorship will support research efforts in quail ecology. The mission of the quail research project is to further knowledge and understanding of the Northern Bobwhite and Scaled Quail and their habitat relationships with the goal of expanding the range of sustainable populations. The goal is to conduct research while educating new biologists and land owners in quail management in conjunction with Texas Tech University. Support from The Burnett Foundation has been key in moving forward and accomplishing new heights in the area of quail research. The recipient of The Burnett Foundation Endowed Professorship is Dr. Brad Dabbert. Dr. Dabbert's research focuses on the influence of environmental factors on the population dynamics of wildlife and includes both applied and theoretical approaches. Dr. Dabbert's current research efforts are geared toward exploring environmental variables that might modulate game bird population size.

Cargill Endowed Professorship in Sustainable Meat Science

Dale WoernerHOLDER: Dale Woerner; est. 2017
The professorship was established to research issues in Sustainable Meat Science related to meat production and processing. The focus will be to address issues which impact the areas of meat quality, safety, security, and processing. The professor's research and teaching focus is on meat quality, processing, cookery, flavor and nutritional value as well as red meat composition, yield and international marketing, innovative carcass cutting strategies, meat shelf life and livestock quality management systems.

Larry Combest Endowed Chair in Agricultural Competitiveness

Darren HudsonHOLDER: Darren Hudson; est. 2008
The overarching purpose of the endowment is to investigate factors affecting the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, in general, and High Plains agriculture specifically. Funded by Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., it was developed to provide a dedicated effort to enhance the global competitiveness of production agriculture of the Texas Plains, especially that of cotton producers. Research focuses on the global marketplace, associated contributing factors, and how the Texas Plains' agricultural industry can best position itself to insure economic viability. This has afforded me the opportunity to work on issues ranging from water and technology adoption at the farm end to food safety and international trade and policy at the consumer end of the food chain. The endowment means that you are not tied to a specific work topic with deliverables that may or may not be consistent with your long-term research goals. You can fund research that may not be “hot” at the moment, but has longer term implications for the region. In addition to the direct research funding, the endowment also allows me to leverage ideas into external funding for research projects. The endowment funds have been used to do exploratory research, which then led to broader funding for that topic. In that sense, the endowment acts as “starter funds” to explore new research areas where further funding is needed, but you need to establish some pre-proposal work to demonstrate your commitment to the topic. In the same vein, the endowment allows you to fund students that have excellent research ideas, but the timing of their research program is not conducive to seeking outside funds. The Combest Chair is somewhat unique at Texas Tech. Tech does not have an extension component. But the Chair carries with it a level of external engagement expectations much higher than would typically be expected of a research chair. Of course, the funding provides flexibility for travel and materials required for that activity. Overall, this chair brings value to Texas Tech through the students and research that are produced and the external exposure that is generated through the outreach activities. At the same time, the chair brings value to our constituents by enhancing research opportunities, leveraging existing and new funds for better research, and supporting an outreach program the complements and expands other sources of learning for industry members.

Gordon W. Davis Regent's Endowed Chair in Animal and Food Science

Bradley JohnsonHOLDER: Bradley Johnson; est. 2005
The primary objective of the Gordon W. Davis Endowed Chair is to strive for excellence in the areas of meat science and muscle biology. The chair holder will focus on the “pursuit of excellence” in teaching, research, and outreach activities in meat science and muscle biology. The recipient is expected to possess nationally recognized skills and expertise in meat science and muscle biology.

Shirley L. and LuCille Garrison Endowed Chair in Rural Youth Development

Scott BurrisHOLDER: Scott Burris; est. 2011
The purpose of the endowment is to support research, teaching, and outreach programs in the knowledge base of youth leadership in a rural context. The holder is expected to have excellent communications and public relations skills and be able to utilize computer knowledge and other information technologies for instructional and communication purposes. High school agricultural science teaching experience or county-level experience in cooperative extension is highly desired.

John W. and Doris Jones Endowed Professorship in Animal and Food Sciences

Ryan RathmannHOLDER: Ryan Rathmann; est. 2011
The professorship was designed to assist in the department's student recruitment and retention needs. Funds support the holder's program, including equipment, teaching and research needs, faculty and student travel, scholarship and fellowships on both a graduate and undergraduate level, printing supplies, and any other expenses incurred in support of the program. The John W. Jones Endowed Professorship enables the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources and/or the Department of Animal and Food Sciences to attract and retain recognized faculty who have outstanding credentials and qualifications, as well as excellence in teaching and team coaching. In 2004, the Department of Animal and Food Sciences moved into a new state-of-the-art teaching and research facility. During the planning phase, despite opposition from several board members, Regent Johnny Jones championed the cause to the other regents and was able to convince them of this need. Because of Johnny's vision, the department has seen immeasurable growth in student recruitment, research productivity, judging team successes and programs. There are more than 22 active faculty engaged in teaching, research and service in the department. Several of these faculty members possess specialties in cattle, horses, sheep, goats, poultry and swine, and are leading researchers in their respective fields: animal well-being, muscle biology, nutrition, breeding and genetics, physiology, food science, and food safety. More than 27 National Championships have been earned by student teams coached by faculty within the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. The success of these teams represents the commitment the faculty has to the quality of the educational experience provided to students in a personalized environment.

Caesar Kleberg Endowed Professorship in Wildlife Conservation

Philip GipsonHOLDER: Philip Gipson; est. 1997
Established by the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, in honor of Caesar Kleberg, the professorship is designed to provide support for programs in Range, Wildlife, and Fisheries Management.

Dean Leidigh Memorial Endowed Professorship

Noureddine AbidiHOLDER: Noureddine Abidi; est. 1995
The Professorship is named in memory of Arthur H. Leidigh who was Dean of the School of Agriculture from 1925 to 1945 and a professor of Agronomy until 1950. It was designed for research in crops which were similar to those that were present on the High Plains when Dr. Leidigh was Dean. These include grain sorghum, cotton, and small grains for both dry-land and irrigated crops. Dean Leidigh worked toward the improvement of cotton quality. He believed the High Plains should develop its own cotton varieties for irrigated and dry-land cultivation, that the region should cultivate its own seed farms, and that better cotton gins should be built to protect the quality raw products. At the time, he felt that diversification was a powerful weapon for farmers to use against the depression. In addition to his many staff duties, Dean Leidigh carried on research on wheat rust in the late 1920's. The Leidigh Professorship provides research support beyond what funded research projects can provide. Endowment funds allow for purchasing non-project specific items that are often needed for multiple, rather than single projects.

J.A. Love Endowed Chair in Sustainable Agriculture

Glen RitchieHOLDER: Glen Ritchie; est. 2008
Originally established in 1977 as the J. A. Love Endowment for Plant and Soil Science by the J. A. and Malone Love Charitable Trust as part of a bequest from the estate of Judge J. A. Love, the fund was created to support research and other activities related to organic farming systems, including non-chemical farming. In 2018, the endowment was elevated to a chair and the name was changed to the J. A. Love Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture. The Chair provides salaries for faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, operating expenses, maintenance, travel and equipment needs for the support of faculty enhancement, research, and teaching related to sustainable agriculture, including organic crop production. J. A. Love passed away December 25, 1980.

Mark and Celia Miller Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence

HOLDER: Open; est. 2022
The Mark and Celia Miller Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence was established in 2022 by Dr. Mark Miller and Dr. Gretchen Mafi, with the help of Dr. Gordon W. Davis. The endowment will ensure the continued excellence of the university's meat science program. Funds will be used to support the chair holder's program expenses incurred in the support of excellence in teaching and research in meat science.

Dr. Miller, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Texas Tech and was a member of the Texas Tech Meat Judging Team as a student, has taught and coached at Texas Tech since 1990. Through his research in muscle biology and food safety, he has played a key role in helping underdeveloped areas of the world deal with hunger and food supply issues.

His wife, Celia, passed away on May 12, 2018. She and Mark were blessed with four children: Markus, Kristin, Kimberly, and Julie. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology and was a passionate Red Raider. She loved to host the Texas Tech Meat Judging Team and meat science graduate students in her home for meals. She loved them all as her own children and spent many hours listening to and mentoring them. Celia is responsible for many successes at the Texas Tech Meat Science program through her unconditional love and support of Mark and the students. Celia was the owner and manager for Chief Line Red Angus, the family registered Red Angus cattle operation. She loved cattle, especially the new babies.

Dr. Mafi is a professor and the Ralph & Leila Boulware Endowed Chair in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at Oklahoma State University, where she conducts research and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in meat science. Gretchen earned her bachelor's degree in 1994, from Texas Tech University, a Master of Science degree in 1996, from Colorado State University, and a Ph.D. in Animal Science with emphasis in meat science in 2000, from Texas Tech.

Gretchen teaches three to five meat science courses each semester at OSU, along with her advising and research responsibilities. She conducts research in meat cutability and quality, with more than 80 published articles in scientific journals. Gretchen coaches the Oklahoma State Meat Judging Team. She received the USDA Excellence in Teaching Award in 2020, as well the American Meat Science Association Distinguished Teaching Award in 2019.

Gretchen and her husband, Jeff, reside on their farm in Coyle, Oklahoma, raising purebred Angus cattle.

Rockwell Endowed Professor in Horticulture

HOLDER: Open; est. 2013
The Rockwell Endowed Professor in Horticulture was established with the goal of obtaining a nationally recognized reputation in Horticulture. Horticulture involves the application of basic scientific information to the growing and use of edible and ornamental plants. Today's horticulture focus on the trails and practices of genetics and breeding, propagation, biotechnology, production, management, handling and storage, marketing, and use of horticultural plants. The professorship will concentrate on effective teaching and applicable research in Horticulture.

Rockwell Fund Endowed Chair in Plant and Soil Science

Peter DotrayHOLDER: Peter Dotray; est. 1982
The Rockwell Fund is a private foundation located in the Houston area since 1931. It currently concentrates on dropout prevention, community-based health services, affordable housing, and jobs creation opportunities primarily in the Houston area. The Rockwell Fund created the Professorship in 1982 with an initial gift of $50,000. The Rockwell Professorship was elevated to an Endowed Chair in 2006 as the endowment funds approached a million dollars. The resources and prestige of Rockwell Chair has allowed the Plant & Soil Science Department to develop well-deserved national and international recognition for high quality graduate research conducted on four species of arid adapted crops. These crops will be critical to developing a sustainable Agriculture Industry on the Lower Great Plains of North America which is faced with the drastic challenges of climate change and rapidly declining irrigation resources. Geographically this program has focused primarily on short term scientific exchanges with Latin America and commercialization in collaboration with an emerging biotechnology company in Israel. The Rockwell Chair program has helped support two TTU Ph. D. students, eight Ph. D. exchange students, two undergraduate Scholars, and two visiting Scientists. Nearly all of these students and scientists were from Universities in Brazil where they are developing one of the largest agricultural economies in the world. The academic and personal interaction with these individuals have broaden the horizons of both our domestic students and our faculty here at Texas Tech. The funding provided in part by the Rockwell Foundation has helped our Department develop a world class graduate education program at Texas Tech University. Not only has this endowment provided critical graduate research support, it has provided travel funds which allowed us to show case our student's research on a global stage. The fifteen M.S. (3 In Progress) and eight Ph. D. (2 In Progress) students have given scientific presentations at the Association for the Advancement of Industrial crops (10), the Cotton Beltwide Research Meetings (9), the American Society of Agronomy (8), and two International Meetings (3). Student attendance at these meeting has also allowed them to meet some truly outstanding scientists and find excellent positions in academia and private industry. These students' research also generated five book chapters, 33 refereed journal articles and over sixty-seven scientific abstracts.

San Antonio Livestock Exposition, Inc. Endowed Chair in Animal and Food Sciences

Mark MillerHOLDER: Mark Miller; est. 2003
The San Antonio Livestock Exposition, Inc. Endowed Chair in animal and food sciences was established by San Antonio Livestock Exposition, Inc. (SALE) in 2003. The primary objective of the endowed chair is to enable the continued pursuit of excellence in meat and food science by improving safety and quality food products from the animal and meat industries. The holder will focus on teaching and research efforts in meat and food science with an emphasis in meat evaluation, live meat animal production practices, food and meat production practices, value-added product development, and the impact of these practiced on food safety and meat quality. Funds from the endowment support the chair holder's responsibilities in participating in meetings with the SALE Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Livestock Director, Executive Committee, Directors and in the SALE Annual Meeting. With the use of these funds, the Department has been able to:

  • Assist in providing study abroad International experiences and internships in Australia, Africa, New Zealand, Latin America, Europe and the United States
  • Provide funding for undergraduate research projects
  • Conduct graduate research projects
  • Conduct research which focuses on the development of food security & sustainability
  • Assist in recruiting for the University, department and college (travel, promotional items, etc.)
  • Purchase books, supplies, and materials for the graduate and undergraduate teaching programs
  • Provide funding for judging teams travel to national competitions
  • Support new student programs
  • Provide funding for graduate and undergraduate students to travel to national meetings
  • Provide scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students
  • Supply funding for faculty and staff travel for teaching and research
  • Fund staff positions and salaries
  • Hire undergraduate students
  • Fund graduate student salaries
  • Purchase equipment needed for teaching and research
  • Purchase vehicles to be used for transportation
  • Fund construction and remodeling of laboratories and classrooms
  • Fund service projects

Emabeth Thompson Endowed Professorship in Risk Management

Stephen DevadossHOLDER: Stephen Devadoss; est. 2010
Established using TRIP (Texas Research Incentive Program) matching funds from the Charles C. Thompson Endowed Chair, the Emabeth Thompson Professorship is used to support the Risk Management Program within the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. The funds are used for supplies, scholarships and fellowships, travel, and any other needs of the program.

Charles C. Thompson Endowed Chair in Agricultural Finance

Phillip JohnsonHOLDER: Phillip Johnson; est. 2010
The purpose of the Chair is to provide support for undergraduate instruction in agricultural finance as well as public service and continuing education programs relative to agricultural finance.

Jessie W. Thornton Endowed Chair in Animal Science

Kristin HalesHOLDER: Kristin Hales; est. 1980
The Thornton endowment started out as the Jessie and Dan Thornton Student and Research Development Fund, at $833,820 plus oil and gas royalties. Dan grew up in Lubbock and attended classes at Texas Tech, and married Jessie, who inherited land and oil and gas interests in east Texas. The endowment came from Jessie's estate. Dan Thornton eventually served as governor of Colorado from 1951-1955. The fund accrued enough value by 1980 to endow two Chairs for $1 million each, one in Animal Science and the other in Plant and Soil Science, with both positions focused on cattle research and education. The Chair position in Animal and Food Sciences was first held by Dr. Rodney Preston, who moved from Washington State University to accept the newly established chair position in 1982. Dr. Preston provided oversight of construction of the Burnett Center for Beef Cattle Instruction and Research and managed an internationally recognized research and graduate education program until his retirement in 1996. The second and current holder of the Thornton Distinguished Chair is Dr. Mike Galyean, who accepted the position in 1998. Research at the Burnett Center has contributed extensively to our knowledge of beef cattle feeding and management. Major research areas have included: 1) factors affecting animal growth and carcass composition; 2) evaluation of nutrient requirements of beef cattle; 3) grain and roughage processing; and 4) nutritional and management factors affecting the health and performance of newly received cattle. The endowment has provided a steady base of support for the operation and staffing of the Burnett Center, as well as providing funds for support of graduate students conducting research at the facility and at the Ruminant Nutrition Laboratory on campus. As a result of the endowment, Texas Tech University is recognized worldwide as a leader in providing research information on the nutrition and management of growing finishing beef cattle.

Jessie W. Thornton Endowed Chair in Plant and Soil Science

Krishna JagadishHOLDER: Krishna Jagadish; est. 1980
The Thornton endowment started out as the Jessie and Dan Thornton Student and Research Development Fund, at $833,820 plus oil and gas royalties. Dan grew up in Lubbock and attended classes at Texas Tech, and married Jessie, who inherited land and oil and gas interests in east Texas. The endowment came from Jessie's estate. Dan Thornton eventually served as governor of Colorado from 1951-1955. The fund accrued enough value by 1980 to endow two Chairs for $1 million each, one in Animal Science and the other in Plant and Soil Science, with both positions focused on cattle research and education. The Chair position in Plant and Soil Science was first occupied by Dr. Arthur G. “Jerry” Matches. The research emphasis of this position is to examine methods of integrating forage production and livestock grazing into local cropping systems to increase the efficiency of water use in agriculture while maintaining or enhancing profitability. Livestock research using pastures is very expensive, and multiple years of studies need to be conducted in order to test the variable weather patterns of west Texas. The endowment has permitted funding of extensive research at the New Deal Research Farm for the last 30 years that could only have been accomplished by having a consistent, generous source of funds for supporting salaries, graduate student stipends, travel funds for students, and purchasing of research supplies. The endowment provides the base support for the project, and this base is repeatedly leveraged for attracting external funding through competitive grants.

Roth & Letch Family Endowed Chair in Food Safety

Dr. Mindy BrashearHOLDER: Dr. Mindy Brashear; est. 2018
The endowment will support the research enhancing activities of the Roth & Letch Family Endowed Chair in Food Safety. The chair holder should have a proven record of high-quality research endeavors and knowledge in food safety, food security and meat science, with a preference for candidates specializing in food security and meat science research. The chair holder should have extensive background in both domestic and international food safety and food security research, as well as strong ties to the food and meat industry.