John grew up in a household where the importance of education was always stressed. In 1961 he became the first member of his immediate family to receive a four-year degree; a Bachelor's of Science from Oklahoma State University in Horticulture with an option in Landscape Design. He valued his education so much, in 2011, he started and later endowed a scholarship in his parent's name. This scholarship is a testament to John's commitment to students and the profession of landscape architecture.
John's appreciation for education inspired him to give back to the academic community. After receiving degrees from Kansas State University in landscape architecture, John spent time working abroad for 10 years. John returned to OSU and became a professor of landscape architecture in 1991. He cared about each of his students and always put them first, from staying late at night in the studio to being a good friend. Professor Ritter retired from OSU in 2011, after 20 years of service. Even in retirement, his commitment to students continued as he visited the studio and classrooms, proving feedback to students on their projects.
While at OSU, Professor Ritter had a direct impact on the careers of hundreds of students, both inside and outside the classroom. He had a special connection with his students. Professor Ritter instilled in his students they carry the knowledge and passion of landscape architecture.
"Professor Ritter created a classroom culture which fostered growth, creativity and thoughtful experience."
"Professor Ritter taught me, when it comes to design, all ideas are welcomed and patience is a virtue."
"Professor John Ritter has one of the kindest souls I have ever met. In the classroom he somehow combined his kind soul with a passion for teaching and landscape architecture in a manner that always resonated with his students."
Professor Ritter’s students carry his spirit in their heart. They carry his love for life, his excitement for discovering new places, his love for nature and land, his compassion, his kindness, his gentle spirit. We all are the legacy of John R. Ritter.
Gifts to this project through the OSU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, are tax deductible as allowed by law. If you have questions about your gift, please contact the OSU Foundation at 800.622.4678.
In recognition of Professor Ritter's LA 3884, Construction 1: Site Grading Course
In recognition of the 84 courses Professor Ritter taught while at OSU
Professor Ritter served as the academic advisor for 157 Landscape Architecture students
336 Landscape Architecture and Landscape Contracting students took Professor Ritter's LA 3884 Course
512 desk critiques would be given in a single semester while teaching a studio course
1008 students were once enrolled in Professor Ritter's courses
Professor Ritter dedicated 21 years to Oklahoma State