Ruth Schott O'Brien

Honored by:The Donnelly Family
Brick location:E:28  map

Ruth O'Brien is a leader, scholar, and teacher in the field of botany.

Ruth Schott O'Brien was born October 13, 1921, in Sioux City, Iowa. She obtained a bachelor's degree in bacteriology from the University of Minnesota in 1945 and later settled in Corpus Christi, Texas. After rearing two children with her husband, Joseph O'Brien (Iowa State 1941), an interest in native plants led Ruth to return to school and she earned a master's of science in biology from Corpus Christi State University (now Texas A&M at Corpus Christi) in 1980. Her thesis work was on the composition of South Texas mesquite brush.

Ruth O'Brien currently teaches plant taxonomy at Texas A&M at Corpus Christi and enjoys many hobbies. She collects plants for the university herbarium as well as for the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, where she has been a volunteer for over thirty years. She also helped to establish the xeriscape garden that is now part of the Museum. Ruth O'Brien is an honorary curator at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. She developed the docent program to guide school groups and adults on a trail through the native brush at the Corpus Christi Botanical Garden, where she instills in others her love of the outdoors. She co-authored recovery plans for three endangered plants for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

In 1993, Ruth O'Brien received the Harold Beatty Award from the Texas Organization for Endangered Species for her efforts to preserve endangered plant species of South Texas.