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University of Michigan seeks new director for its botanical gardens, arboretum

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ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan is searching for the next director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum after its longtime director Bob Grese announced he plans to retire this summer.

Grese has served as director of MBGNA since 2004, and prior to that served as the director of Nichols Arboretum from 1999 to 2004.

On March 16, the university formed a search committee for the position. Members of the public can contact the committee with nominations, comments and inquiries via its consultants with KOYA Leadership Partners.

Matthaei-Nichols has served both the university community and general public for over 100 years with its extensive outdoor gardens and trails and its conservatory. It boasts more than 840 acres of nature areas, a research facility, a renowned peony garden and U-M’s Campus Farm.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens conservatory.
Matthaei Botanical Gardens conservatory. (Meredith Bruckner)

Both the botanical gardens and the arboretum served 485,000 visitors in 2019.

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U-M is looking for an “inspiring and collaborative leader” to expand the impact of the historic organization by working with partners across the university.

According to the job description:

"Candidates will have demonstrated success in organizational leadership and administrative experience in a botanical garden or related environment. An exceptional ability to lead collaboratively and to work effectively across all levels of a large, complex organization are critical. Candidates must have deep appreciation for and strong commitment to education, academic research, environmental stewardship, horticultural beauty, and public engagement, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with scientific and lay audiences.

“The successful candidate will have a record of outstanding commitment and accomplishment in supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Acceptance and review of applications will continue until the position is filled. Applicants should provide a curriculum vitae or professional resume and letter of application.”

The search committee seeks individuals who have a demonstrated record of achievement as a professional or academic with an advanced degree in a relevant field, such as:

  • Ecology
  • Plant biology
  • Environment
  • Sustainability
  • Horticulture
  • Landscape architecture
  • Public garden management

Interested? To learn more about the position and to submit application materials, click here.


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