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Southwood Gift Grows Hands-on Skills for Students

Horticulture

Southwood Landscape and Garden Center is making a $25,000 donation toward Oklahoma State University’s new Greenhouse Learning Center. Combined with an individual gift of $25,000 from co-founder Joe Schulte, a $50,000 gift will contribute to the learning center’s state-of-the-art plant prep area, which will be named the Southwood Landscape & Nursery Prep Area.

Southwood owners Joe and Ginny Schulte, and daughters Margaret Schulte and Brenda Baird, know the value of hands-on experience. They hope the Southwood Landscape & Nursery Prep Area will help students become more acclimated to working in greenhouses.

“We have very few desk jobs here at Southwood,” Baird said. “A person seeking a job in the horticulture field needs not only book and classroom learning about plants, but also the type of hands-on, tactile experiences that working in a learning greenhouse can provide.”

Several Southwood employees are OSU alumni, including co-founder Joe Schulte. Because of this connection, Southwood has developed a close relationship with the faculty, staff and students in the horticulture program and have watched it grow and change over the past three decades. They saw an opportunity to promote the type of hands-on learning they look for in potential employees, which was a driving factor for their support of the Greenhouse Learning Center.

“Southwood’s sponsorship of the Greenhouse Learning Center is an opportunity for all of us here to inspire future generations of horticulturists,” Baird said.

The owners are excited to honor all those involved with Southwood through naming the nursery.

“Our family business is our family’s legacy, but we couldn’t have built Southwood without the passion and dedication of the hundreds of people who have worked alongside us here over the years,” Baird said. “For this reason, we chose to use the Southwood name instead of the Schulte name on the new facility.”

Southwood was founded in Tulsa in 1982 and has grown into the largest retail garden center in Oklahoma. Family-owned and operated since its founding, the business offers a full-service landscape design and produce high-quality local plants.

The Greenhouse Learning Center will hold its grand opening ceremony on August 24 and there are still fundraising opportunities for people to get involved. For more information, contact James Ambrose at 405.385.5182 or jambrose@osugiving.com or visit okla.st/GreenhouseLearningCenter.