Texas Tech University

Ornamental Horticulture at Texas Tech

Edward Zukauckas

Horticulture has been an important component in the Plant Sciences for many years. Several individuals had a guiding hand in the development of this program. Edward (Ed) Zukauckas was from Queens, NY and a graduate of Rutgers. He came to Texas Tech in 1952 and continued to actively teach until 1984. Ed was instrumental in the construction and design of the horticultural gardens and greenhouse and initiated the plant maintenance program at Texas Tech. Along with his wealth of plant knowledge, Ed is remembered as a generous teacher who made personal connections with his students. The Edward Zukauckas scholarship funds is available through the Dept. of Plant and Soil Science.

George TereshkovichIn 1968, George (Dr. T) Tereshkovich joined the horticulture program at Texas Tech in 1968. He hailed from Mahopac, New York and attained his degrees from Louisiana Tech University, University of Georgia, and Louisiana State University respectively. Dr. T, along with Ed Zukauckas designed and installed the garden and greenhouse complex in 1973 and it has flourished since then. He was also active in research with both vegetables and then transitioned into Arboriculture. Dr. T is especially remembered for his student centered instruction and his "professionalism" lectures in all of his courses. He remained on faculty until 1995 and served as an interim chair of both the Plant Science and the Landscape Architecture departments at Texas Tech. He received five teaching awards from national societies, regional societies and Texas Tech University. Dr. T was awarded a lifetime membership from the Texas Nursery and Landscape Assoc. for his leadership on the education board and for his many years of participation in Expo.


In 1984, Cynthia (Dr. McK) joined forces with The Department of Plant and Soil Science in 1984 with the retirement of Ed Zukauckas. She was from Louisiana, MO and was a former student of both Zukauckas and Tereshkovich as she obtained all three of her degrees from Texas Tech University. Dr. McKenney came during a period when several horticulture faculty retired resulting in her picking up 13 different undergraduate courses and 5 graduate courses during her 34 years in the department. Her strength was in ornamentals so she concentrated the majority of her courses and her research in that area. Dr. McK, who retired in 2018, is probably best known for her research in wildflowers, participation in the Texas Super Star Plant selection board and her efforts in distance education. The greenhouse and gardens were already in place when she came to Texas Tech but she was the greenhouse administrator from 1994 through 2018 during which many improvements such as automation, concrete floors, HD lighting and growth chambers were all made. Additionally, the area behind the greenhouse became a functional research area for ornamentals. She was also the first ornamental horticulturist to begin research on a Texas Tech farm. Dr. McKenney was a fellow in the American Society for Horticultural Science and the first Rockwell Endowed Professor of Horticulture. During her tenure at Texas Tech, she received 11 teaching awards including the Chancellor's Councils Distinguished Teaching award. She was honored with a lifetime membership in TNLA for her service to the Educational Advisory board and years of participation.