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Biology Department Welcomes Alumnus for Symposium on Restoration Efforts at Family Prairie

The Biology Department at Texas Lutheran University welcomed alumnus Don Kirchoff ‘67 for a symposium on the restoration and conservation efforts at his family prairie in Wilson County, Texas.

Kirchoff, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Minor in Physics from Texas Lutheran College (now TLU), shared his expertise with students majoring in different disciplines of science. The former merger and acquisitions professional and engineer at Schlumberger guided students through the process, resources, role volunteers played, and results which transformed the farmland into a self-sustaining prairie.

Originally purchased by his parents in 1954, today, the 200-acre land is a member of the Native Prairies Association of Texas and, in addition, serves as a geological, soil, habitat and species research area for university students.


The former TLU alumni board member hopes his visit to TLU inspires the next generation of scientists to take charge in caring for the environment.

“I hope students get a love for the natural environment and help protect it,” Kirchoff said. “A strong effort is needed to get areas back to what they used to be. If we don’t do it, we are going to lose them.”

Kirchoff, an advocate for students majoring in the hard sciences, such as biology, physics, chemistry, believes there is a substantial amount of opportunity to apply the knowledge learned into the real world.

“A lot of what we learn in these hard sciences has a great deal of application in our lives, in our careers,” Kirchoff emphasized. “Stick with these hard sciences because, in my opinion, they provide the best background for the best jobs available in the free market system.”

Now retired after a successful career, the 1967 graduate enjoys dedicating time to students. He strongly believes in the importance of sharing knowledge with future generations of scientists.

“I had no idea that 55 years after I graduated I would be back on the other side of a classroom talking about something that was in my life even before I came to TLC,” said Kirchoff. “I think it’s important for folks outside of academia to share what's in real life out there. Whether it’s information that can be used for a professional career or information that can be used to improve the quality of life.”

Kirchoff w/ Faculty
(Pictured Left to Right) Dr. Danielle Grove, Associate Professor of Biology; Don Kirchoff '67; Dr. Stephanie Perez, Associate Professor, Biology, and Department Chair; Dr. Mark Gustafson, Professor, Environmental Studies Program Director

In addition to spending time with students, Kirchoff’s visit to Texas Lutheran served as an opportunity to reminisce on the time and people he met nearly 60 years ago.

“One of the fondest memories I have from TLC are the friends that I made,” Kirchoff added. What we had in common at TLC is now lifelong.”

To learn more about the Kirchoff Prairie and the work they do, visit:

TLU Students Visiting Kirchoff Prairies in 2019