Editor's note: The following is a press release.
The of Harvard University is pleased to announce that Iris Gestram has been appointed as the new Deputy Director. She will join the organization in May 2012.
“We are thrilled to have Iris join our team,” said . “Her combination of managerial skills and experience in public horticulture will be a great asset to the Arboretum as we embark on the next exciting chapter of our history.”
Gestram comes to the Arboretum from the National Association for Olmsted Parks where she served as Executive Director. Previously, Gestram headed the Education and Visitor Services Department at historic Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, where she oversaw guest services, education, public programs, public relations, and marketing for the 1,000-acre public garden. Gestram also served as Director of Education and Visitor Services at the Olmsted-designed Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL, adjacent to Mountain Lake Community with its numerous residential landscapes designed by the Olmsted firm.
“I have long admired the Arnold Arboretum as a renowned research institution, public garden, and Olmsted-designed landscape,” Gestram said of her appointment. “I am delighted to be joining the Arboretum’s accomplished staff. With Ned’s leadership and new research facilities at Weld Hill, there are exciting opportunities for greater integration between the Arboretum and Harvard University and for positioning the Arboretum as an international center for plant science, horticulture, and education.”
Gestram offers the Arboretum extensive experience in non-profit management, strategic planning, and program development. She holds a master’s degree in plant science from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and a master’s of science in public horticulture administration from the Longwood Graduate Program, University of Delaware. While in the Longwood Program, Iris developed a preservation plan for the historic landscape of Gibraltar in Wilmington, DE, designed by pioneer woman landscape architect Marian Cruger Coffin.
An active participant nationally in the fields of historic landscape preservation and public horticulture, Iris has served on the Longwood Graduate Program Executive Committee and the Gibraltar Landscape Advisory Committee for Preservation Delaware, Inc. She recently completed a strategic plan for the Smithsonian Horticulture Services Division that initiated a name change to Smithsonian Gardens to better reflect the organization’s stature and operations as a public garden, educational institution, and horticultural display garden.