Dr. Gardner Wins Outstanding Service to Students Award

May. 4, 2022
Dr. Gardner holding his Outstanding Service to Students Award

Congratulations to Dr. David Gardner on receiving the Outstanding Service to Students Award at the 2022 CFAES Celebration of Students! Dr. Gardner is an HCS professor who specializes in turfgrass science, he is the faculty advisor to the OSU Turf Club, as well as being actively involved in the Turf Industry both locally & nationally.

Jasmine Mabry (graduating senior & member of the Turf Club) had these kind remarks on Dr. Gardner's win: "I truly cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Outstanding Service to Students award than Dr. Gardner. He is always there for his students and takes the time to get to know each one of them personally. Dr. Gardner had been vital in ensuring the success of the Turf Club, and of all his students majoring or minoring in Turfgrass Science."

Brandon Stith, OSU Turfgrass Research Center Manager & HCS Alumni (B.S. Sustainable Plant Systems with a focus on Turfgrass Sciences) shared his thoughts on Dr. Gardner’s achievement: “Dr. Gardner was the first person I contacted over the summer when I was considering switching majors, he walked me through all the courses I was going to need and gave me a clear timeline of when I was graduating and assured me, I was entering into a great industry and major in turfgrass science. After taking a few of his classes and talking to him in his office, it was clear that he truly cared about his students. Fast forward to graduating and returning to work at OSU, Dr. Gardner has been there to answer any question I have, and always offering to help where needed. A great professor and now a colleague and friend!”

Luckily, Dr. Gardner had a moment to discuss what this achievement means to him:

What does winning this award mean to you?

I’ve put much of my career focus recently on teaching students, either in turfgrass science, landscape horticulture, or other majors who I meet in my data analysis class. I’ve tried to make the student experience be like the experience I had when I was a college student. I always tell people “I don’t have to go to work – I get to go to work” and I hope that winning this award means that students enjoy my presence in the classroom and at student organization functions as much as I appreciate them.

Could you tell us a bit about how you provide service to students?

I teach several classes in our department. I teach the introductory turfgrass management class, herbaceous and woody ornamentals, an applied plant taxonomy class and everyone’s favorite – statistics. I advise students who are in the turfgrass science specialization [a track of our Sustainable Plant Systems Major]. Often this is simply to help them with scheduling the right classes for their career interests. But I also occasionally help with placement for internships or full-time positions.

How long have you been the faculty advisor of the turf club?

I shared these duties for a couple of years with our former field center manager Matt Williams. But I have been the faculty advisor to the turf club since June of 2000. Sometimes I can remember like it was yesterday driving with the students overnight to our first ever showing at the golf industry show, which was in Dallas in 2001.

Dr. Gardner & current Turf Club students onstage at the CFAES Celebration of Students

Thank you to all the students who nominated Dr. Gardner for this meaningful achievement!