Mary Albrecht was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, in Horticulture from Rutgers University in 1975, and the M.S. (1977) and Ph.D (1980) degrees in Floriculture from Ohio State University. She joined the faculty of Kansas State University in 1980 as an assistant professor; she had been promoted to full professor when she left in 1996 to take a position with the University of Tennessee.
Dr. Albrecht was named Head of the Department of Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design at UT, making her the first woman to head an agricultural department at the university, indeed, the first woman to head a horticulture department in the United States. In her capacity as department head, colleagues note that Professor Albrecht was a skillful administrator. She increased public awareness and support for the UT Gardens and helped to develop curriculum that included a public horticulture major, the first program of its kind to have such a major.
Dr. Albrecht is now the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, a position she has held since 2000. She continues to mentor students and faculty, establishing the College’s Honors Program, as well as instituting programs that encourage the development of outstanding teaching faculty. Active in the UT Faculty Senate, Albrecht was the Deans’ Caucus representative, an Executive Committee member, and also served as a member of the committee that rewrote the UTK Faculty Handbook. Most recently Dean Albrecht was instrumental in establishing an intercollegiate landscape architecture program between CASNR and the College of Architecture and Design. Dr. Caula Beyl, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, credits Dr. Albrecht’s “extraordinary vision” in the development of the program, which was approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and will admit its first master in Landscape Architecture students in the fall of 2008.
In 2001 Dean Albrecht was named a fellow in the American Society for Horticultural Science, an organization for which she was treasurer and finance committee chair and earlier served as vice president of its education division. Mary Albrecht received the George Hammel Cook Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater, Rutgers University. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, and Pi Alpha Xi (horticultural honor society), and is listed in American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who in the 21st Century, and Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. In supporting Dr. Mary Albrecht’s nomination as Notable UT Woman, one of her colleagues wrote:
Dr. Albrecht is truly passionate about quality education, teaching, and learning and UT is fortunate to have leadership provided in these areas by such an outstanding, notable woman. She truly is an inspiration to all women in academia!