Arkansas pioneer of horticulture teaching and research, dies at 79

Alfred E. “Al” Einert, who established the ornamental horticulture teaching and research programs at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the U of A’s Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, died Aug. 22 in Fayetteville. He was 79.

For more than three decades, beginning in 1970, Einert coordinated the landscape design and urban horticulture teaching program for the Bumpers College department of horticulture. He intitiated programs to assist nursery and horticultural industries in Arkansas and taught the basic principles and practices in landscape design, landscape construction techniques and wood plant identification.

Einert was the first licensed landscape architect in Arkansas, receiving “License No. 1” and trained several generations of landscape architects in the state.

A native of Norwood, New Jersey, Einert developed his passion for landscape architecture from a love of nature, agriculture and art.

After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, Einert earned his undergraduate degree at Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University) and his master’s and doctoral degrees at Mississippi State University. He served as a post-doctoral researcher at Michigan State University before coming to the University of Arkansas and the Division of Agriculture in 1970.

In 1975, Einert developed a new undergraduate major in landscape design and urban horticulture. Graduates established their own landscaping businesses or found jobs with municipal parks or recreation departments. The program also benefitted extension agents in urban areas.

In 1987, Einert took over the Undergraduate Honors Program for Bumpers College. In the 1990s, he worked with Roy Rom and Curt Rom to develop a “freshman experience” program in the department of horticulture and forestry. Shortly after that, Einert developed an upper-level course in landscape and turfgrass management that was team-taught with the department of agronomy.

Einert received the Arkansas Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching in 1987 and the John W. White Outstanding Teaching Award in 1988. He retired in 1999.