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Robert Rucker


At a Glance

Class Year: 1938

Award Year: 2013

Degree: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture

Profession: Landscape Architecture/Education

Biography

One of Texas’ pioneers of landscape architecture, Rucker helped begin the transformation of the state’s roadsides into the springtime delights they are today, completed 12 master plans for universities in four states and is primarily responsible for the tree-lined look of Texas A&M’s streets. After graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in landscape architecture in 1938 and 1939, Rucker turned Texas’ roadsides from afterthoughts to landscapes filled with wildflowers as a roadside development employee with the Texas Highway Department. World War II, however, interrupted his career, and he was called to active duty as a captain in the U.S. Army in 1942. One of Rucker’s legs was blown off by a mine while he was commanding an infantry division during a battle in Tunisia. Thought to be dead, Rucker lay wounded for 24 hours before he was rescued and given medical attention. His artificial leg, which he named “Oscar,” eventually became the center of many of the humorous stories Rucker enjoyed telling. After the war, he worked as a landscape architect, campus planner and faculty member at Baylor University, the University of Oklahoma, Texas Technological College in Lubbock, Texas, eventually returning to Texas A&M in 1968. Rucker’s return, said Michael Murphy, retired professor of landscape architecture, was at an important time in the campus’ development. “He was responsible for planting many of the campus’ oak trees,” said Michael Murphy, one of Rucker’s former students. “The live oaks he added to the campus are not only the majority of the trees that exist on campus, but some of the largest and oldest.”