Newman To Step Down as Executive Director of Wildflower Center
Executive Director Patrick Newman will be leaving The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to become the President and CEO of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, two organizations that have recently merged. His last day at the Wildflower Center will be April 30, 2021.
“Leading this organization over the past five years has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Newman. “The Wildflower Center and its staff, volunteers and advisory council members will forever hold a special place in my heart.”
Newman joined the Center as its fourth executive director in January 2016. His leadership accompanied tremendous growth at the Wildflower Center, with the number of annual guests increasing to more than 230,000. He has shepherded the success of exhibitions and programs such as Fortlandia and the expansion of Luminations, an Austin winter tradition. Newman’s efforts also resulted in the Center’s designation as the State Botanic Garden and Arboretum by the Texas Legislature in 2017. In addition, he helped the Center remain a thriving part of the Austin community through the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
“The great strength of the Wildflower Center is and always has been its unquestionably committed staff, volunteers and supporters,” said Newman. “The Center has great momentum, and I have every confidence that it will continue to grow and achieve more success in the future.”
“The Wildflower Center serves an enormously important role in serving our communities and is widely respected as a national leader in these efforts,” said Dan Jaffe, interim executive vice president and provost of the university. “Patrick deserves a great deal of credit for his vision and leadership, in particular this past year as the Wildflower Center staff worked to continue serving our communities safely and responsibly. The ties between UT and the Wildflower Center have strengthened, and we look forward to building on his great work.”
“The Center plays such a critical role in conservation and educating the community about the importance of the native plants and landscapes of Texas,” said Michelle Addington, dean of the UT School of Architecture, of which the Wildflower Center is part. “Patrick’s leadership has well positioned the Center for continued growth and success. We will miss him and are encouraged that his superb work has brought such an excellent opportunity for his future and for the future of botanic gardens in Texas.”
Lee Clippard, deputy director of the Wildflower Center, will serve as interim executive director beginning May 1.