WHEN an international botanical congress on plant research was held in Berlin in 1987, more than half the faculty members of the University of Texas botany department were invited to present papers on their research. That is just one example of the stature this department of 19 faculty and 68 graduate students has carved out for itself. Another is its top ranking among American university botany departments since 1983, a reflection of the faculty's preeminence in such areas as plant physiology, systematics, molecular biology, and phytochemistry.
These accomplishments may be a testament to the time-honored university tradition of creating excellence by recruiting it.
``It's like the old saying that money makes money,'' says department chairman Stanley Roux, explaining that the seeds of the department's reputation were planted in the '50s with the arrival of several noted botanists, who set the stage for continued care in faculty recruitment.
As for how the department has weathered the university's financial storm, Dr. Roux says he's been ``tremendously impressed'' with the school's commitment to research excellence despite dwindling funds.
Roux also believes Lone Star legislators recognize the value of research to the state's future, and cites establishment of a grant program that had its funding doubled in 1987 to $60 million for a two-year period.