San Diego Botanic Garden has announced that Dr. Ari Novy, currently Leichtag Foundation's chief scientist and former executive director of the US Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, has been selected to be the next president & CEO by the SDBG Board of Directors.
Current President & CEO Julian Duval has been at the helm of SDBG for the past twenty-four years and will be retiring January 23, 2019. During his tenure, Duval has taken the Garden from a San Diego County-owned property to a recognized local tourist attraction, and to being named one of the 2017 ‘Top 10 Gardens Worth Traveling For’ by the Canadian Garden Council and the American Public Gardens Association.
Dr. Novy was selected from forty-two candidates from around the nation after a year-long search by the SDBG Board of Directors, according to Board Chairman John DeWald. As the former executive director of the US Botanic Garden, one of the oldest, most prominent, and most visited gardens in North America, Dr. Novy has considerable experience running botanical institutions. The USBG had an annual budget of $14M and approximately seventy employees during Novy’s tenure. While at the USBG, Dr. Novy oversaw renovation of the Garden’s historic Bartholdi Park, produced original botanically-themed theater, and welcomed over 1.2 million visitors per year. He also reestablished botanical collection expeditions for the first time since the 1850s.
Dr. Novy is a plant biologist with degrees from New York University and Rutgers University. He remains an active researcher, holding research appointments at the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, and the University of California, San Diego. He currently serves on the boards of the Cornell Alliance for Science, Botanic Garden Conservation International US, and Live It Learn It (a Washington, DC-based non-profit that provides experiential learning programs for Title 1 school children). Dr. Novy has served on many advisory panels during his career, including the White House Council of Environmental Quality, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization, and the Scientific Advisory Panel of Botanic Garden Conservation International. He is currently an environmental commissioner for the City of Encinitas.
Watch for an interview with Dr. Novy in an upcoming issue of Let’s Talk Plants!