The Man Behind Texas Tech's Beautiful Campus Retires

If you have seen the Texas Tech University campus any time since 1966, you know Dewey Shroyer’s work.

If you have seen the Texas Tech University campus any time since 1966, you know Dewey Shroyer’s work.

Now, the man that many will tell you is responsible for the campus’ beauty has retired. But he’ll tell you he doesn’t deserve the credit – it should go to a lot of talented, dedicated people.

"I’ve had a lot of good people, people who have been with me a long time," Shroyer said. "The key is to hire good people who care about the job that they are doing."

For four decades, Shroyer has been responsible for the grass, flowers, trees – you know, the stuff that makes Texas Tech one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. The department has the national awards to back up the claim. There are four Professional Grounds Management awards, four from the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, three from the Texas Community Forestry Service and the list goes on.

He has worked for 11 presidents, three interim presidents, three chancellors and one interim chancellor since he was named superintendent of grounds maintenance in 1966.

"We’ve been lucky to have good support from the administration and the Board of Regents," he said.

Shroyer didn’t intend to spend his career at Texas Tech, or even have a career in this field. He enrolled at Texas Tech intending to be an architect.

"When I was nearing graduation, there just weren’t any jobs," Shroyer said. "I talked to a friend who lived in the same mobile home park with me and he suggested I go speak to Elo Urbanovsky, head of Texas Tech’s Department of Park Administration."

That conversation led Shroyer to a new major, park administration and a license in landscape architecture. He went on to complete a master’s degree and he and his wife JoAnn intended to leave Lubbock once he finished his master’s degree.

"I had a couple of interviews, but Bill Kitchen offered me a job at Texas Tech, making a little more money," he said. "We still had the mobile home in Lubbock and wouldn’t need to move, so I took the job."

In 1973, Kitchen moved to teaching full time and Shroyer was offered the job of acting director of grounds maintenance. The title became permanent in 1974. It’s a decision Shroyer has never regretted.

"I loved what I did. If you enjoy what you’re doing, keeping one job for a long time is a good thing," he said. "If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you should find something else to do."

Shroyer is being ably replaced as managing director of grounds maintenance by Eugene Gibson, who has already put in 29 years in the department.

"Gene will do great things for us," said Mike Faires, associate vice president for operations at Texas Tech. "But Dewey is just one of those people who really can’t be replaced. I don’t know what I can say that would do him justice. He has done so much for Texas Tech and we will miss him."

Even though he retired at the end of December, Shroyer hasn’t stopped working. He’s helping his son who has a business near Wolfforth and manages the family ranch between Junction and Sonora.

"JoAnn and I have 29 acres west of Lubbock and we’re thinking about building a house out there, maybe with a big garden," said Shroyer.