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John R. Ritter Memorial Landscape Architecture Scholarship

Raised toward our $25,000 Goal
71 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on May 05, at 03:11 PM CDT
Project Owners

Ritter Family Scholarship

April 19, 2017

Kayla Copeland was a recipient of the Elmer and Mona Lewis Ritter and John R. Ritter Endowed Scholarship for Landscape Architecture during her time at Oklahoma State University. John established this scholarship in honor of his parents to support landscape architecture students. Kayla now works for The City of Oklahoma City as a Park Planner. Like Kayla illustrates below, once endowed, the John Ritter Scholarship in Landscape Architecture will benefit students and their experience at OSU. 

The Elmer and Mona Lewis Ritter and John Ritter Scholarship was such a blessing to receive. This scholarship allowed me the flexibility to work only part time during my last (very important) semesters of school. The scholarship helped me pay for school tuition and books which are always the top cost for most college students. Because of this scholarship I got the flexibility to receive a part time internship at a landscape architecture firm in Oklahoma City, expanding my knowledge of landscape architecture and growing my experience working in a landscape architecture office.

This scholarship was extremely meaningful to me. Professor Ritter was my first college advisor. He walked me through all the first loops a freshman in college has to go through. He challenged me to take courses I didn’t think I could do and help prove to myself that I am in the right field of work. Professor Ritter was such an encourager. He would encourage us in our designs. He would encourage us to get out of the studio every once and a while and to go experience life (but then to quickly come back and finish our projects as well). He would encourage us through hugs, pats on the backs, and forehead kisses. His smile was contagious and his presence really lit up a room.

My time at OSU taught me all the basic skills to jump into a full time job. It taught me all the disciplines of environmental design, artistic prospective on design, and the science heart behind every project. Because of OSU, I could firmly say that I had a great knowledge on many different types of projects: garden design, residential design, community planning, urban design, parks and recreation, commercial /campus design, and sustainable site design. This education made me well-rounded and very marketable to the landscape architecture professional world.

Today, I am a Park Planner for the City of Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department. My job includes master planning, park designing,  project/construction management, and public meetings. I love working with the citizens of Oklahoma City and hearing all of their dreams about their town, communities, and neighborhoods. It’s my job to take their dreams and make them a reality throughout our parks and recreation system. It is so fun to watch people’s eyes light up when you show them your master plan for their neighborhood park or regional park. It’s what makes my job so special!

Kayla Copeland, Park Planner, Parks and Recreation Department, The City of Oklahoma City

Ritter's legacy lives on through his students

April 10, 2017

Late landscape architecture instructor John R. Ritter’s legacy is in his students. During his 20-year tenure, he taught at OSU with a desire for preparing students to build fulfilling careers.

He is remembered for motivating students with relevant hands-on projects that many times resulted in jobs for new professionals graduating from Oklahoma State University.

"No one was more dedicated to his students' professional enhancement." Dr. Charles Leider, Former director of OSU Landscape Architecture.

To read more on Professors Ritter's legacy visit the link below.

Construction 3884

April 04, 2017

Professor Ritter’s Construction 3884 class was my first real test in the landscape architecture program at OSU.  Up to that point the coursework had been centered on graphics and design without having to consider a real site.  Professor Ritter was a passionate professor who wanted to make sure each of his students excelled in the big topic of this course, site grading.

Looking back, I remember how topics like cut and fill and road grading seemed too complicated to grasp. The final project that semester was challenging and many of us were working in the studio late the night before it was due.  Professor Ritter had been teaching long enough to know where his students would be that night.  He came to the studio after hours to check in on us and make sure we were all on the right path.  He always made time for his students whenever we were in need and you could always count on his late night visits.

Gestures like that let me know early on how passionate and caring of a person Professor Ritter really was.  I will always appreciate the extra time he took for each of his students, the amazing stories of his life that he was willing to share and the friendship that will never be forgotten.

Meredith Mejia

2011, Landscape Architecture Graduate


A Legacy of Teaching

March 30, 2017

Professor Ritter provided a legacy of teaching and impact to all of his students. He was a friend, mentor and colleague that touched the lives of students. His legacy will continue to live on and impact students through the John R. Ritter Memorial Landscape Architecture Scholarship. By the quotes from past students, there is no surprise of the kind, gentle spirit Professors Ritter enacted across the Department.

"Professor Ritter was a good man, good friend and a good shepherd to me and countless other students learning our way through this profession." Adrienne Wright

"John was a kind man and dedicated great effort to teaching and sharing his ideas on the world." Brett Mann

"John had a phenomenal spirit and was an inspiring man to be around. I feel honored to have known him." Jeff Pugh

"He was a fantastic man who shared wealth's of knowledge. A great person who would come up to the studio at 1 in the morning to check on his students. Dedicated to say the least." Sean Rohrbacker

"I remember I wrecked my  bicycle on the way to one of his final exams. I was a few minutes late and let him know what had happened. A quarter or so into the exam I put my head on my desk in pain. He walked up, looked at me and ripped my exam in half. He said, "You need to see a doctor." I did and found out I had dislocated my shoulder. I'll remember his kindness forever." Eric Martinez


A note from the Department Head

March 15, 2017

John Ritter was one of only four Landscape Architecture faculty at Oklahoma State University for over 20 years.  He loved his students, and spent many hours, even hours outside of traditional work hours, mentoring and guiding Landscape Architecture students to be the best they could be.  Because of that interest in and respect for the students, many of those students became lifelong friends with John.  John taught construction and design classes thus he expected his students to master the math and science that goes into construction while also nurturing their artistic side to bring out new ideas in designs they created.  He encouraged the students to be actively involved in clubs and other extramural experiences to better prepare them for careers and life in ways that cannot always be taught in a classroom setting.  John is greatly missed by the department and program.

Dr. Janet Cole                                                       

Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

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LA 3884

In recognition of Professor Ritter's LA 3884, Construction 1: Site Grading Course


A Legacy of Teaching

In recognition of the 84 courses Professor Ritter taught while at OSU


Academic Advisor

Professor Ritter served as the academic advisor for 157 Landscape Architecture students


Total Students

336 Landscape Architecture and Landscape Contracting students took Professor Ritter's LA 3884 Course


Desk Critiques

512 desk critiques would be given in a single semester while teaching a studio course


Total Students in Class

1008 students were once enrolled in Professor Ritter's courses


Years of Service

Professor Ritter dedicated 21 years to Oklahoma State