Dr. Derald Harp
I was born and raised in Everman, Texas, just south of Fort Worth. I earned a B.S. in Horticulture and Landscape Management and a M.S. in General Agriculture from Tarleton State University. I hold a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Texas A&M University, where I worked on plant responses to urban microclimates.
I’ve been in the landscape industry since 1986, working in greenhouses, wholesale and retail nurseries, and landscape installation and maintenance. I spent several years as a landscape manager for several companies in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where I got to work on several multi-million dollar commercial and residential landscape projects, primarily in the University Park area of Dallas. Prior to entering academia in 2000, I managed approximately $3.5 M worth of commercial and residential landscape maintenance contracts across the metroplex.
I started in academia in 2000 when I accepted a position at Southeast Missouri State University, where I taught Plant and Soil Science courses. I was asked to come to Texas A&M University – Commerce to help rebuild the Horticulture program. I gladly accepted and moved in 2003, where I began creating and teaching horticulture courses, and I began recruiting students. Our program has grown rapidly, and I am proud of the students we have today. In addition to my teaching, I currently serve the Department of Agricultural Sciences as Graduate Coordinator, Undergraduate Faculty Mentor, Undergraduate Advisor, and teach the Freshman Success Seminar course, Ag 100 Introduction to Agriculture. I serve the university as Chair of the Faculty Development Committee and as a member of Faculty Senate and numerous other committees.
My research focuses primarily on sustainable urban landscapes. A focus involves the use of ornamental plants on building roofs. These “green roofs” absorb the incoming sunlight, reducing the heat being transferred into a building, decreasing cooling costs and making the building more energy efficient. I am also working with AgriLife Extension to identify landscape plants that are capable of thriving in minimum-input landscapes. In other words, landscape plants that thrive in our climate with little irrigation and no supplemental application of fertilizers and pesticides. Since coming to A&M-Commerce, I have 21 peer-reviewed publications and serve as editor for the Texas Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Subtropical Plant Science.
The thing I am most proud of is my children. My oldest is a junior at Angelo State University, majoring in History, with plans for a career in secondary education. My second child is a very talented artist and tennis player, whom I expect to be designing trendy clothes that I’ll never understand someday. My youngest a typical 5th grader, with math skills and athletic ability I never had at that age. It’s a joy to watch them grow up. I am also lucky enough to be engaged to a wonderful lady with two outstanding children of her own. We’re building a house in Greenville, which should be completed next March.
Finally, I am thrilled to be a member of this university and the Department of Agricultural Sciences. I get to work with the best colleagues and teach the best young men and women this fine state has to offer, and I’m shocked they actually pay me for this (though don’t tell the President I said this!). It is said that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s true, because I’ve been having fun every day since 2003.