Botanical Research Institute of Texas Names New President and Executive Director

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Dr. Edward L. Schneider comes to BRIT® after top posts at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Dr. Edward L. Schneider, BRIT's new President and Executive Director

Dr. Schneider’s leadership and fundraising skills are perfect for building upon BRIT’s mission-based research and education programs and extending the Institute’s capabilities into each. Harry Bartel, Board Chairman

The Board of Directors of The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) is delighted to announce that Edward L. Schneider, Ph.D., has been named President and Executive Director, effective December 15, 2015. Dr. Schneider brings more than 30 years of botanical executive administration experience to BRIT and will lead the organization into the next phase of its mission of conservation and education.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of BRIT, I am excited to welcome Ed Schneider as the new Executive Director,” said Board Chairman, Harry Bartel. “Dr. Schneider’s leadership and fundraising skills are perfect for building upon BRIT’s mission-based research and education programs and extending the Institute’s capabilities into each.”

Dr. Schneider most recently served as Director of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the largest public garden in the Upper Midwest located in Chaska, Minnesota. There, he maintained a strong donor cultivation presence and orchestrated the second-ever capital campaign in the 57-year history of the Garden. Prior to running the Arboretum, he served as President and CEO of The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden from 1992 to 2010.

Schneider spent 18 years at Texas State University, San Marcos, were he held various positions including Dean of the College of Science. Schneider received his B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Plant Ecology from Central Washington University and his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“I look forward to returning to Texas and joining the Botanical Research Institute of Texas,” wrote Dr. Schneider. “BRIT is a premier research and educational organization, and I am honored to become associated with the organization. Continuing to expand the high quality, plant-focused educational outreach to the surrounding communities, building stronger, rigorous, science-based research programs, and establishing new and effective partnerships will become cornerstones for the future growth of BRIT.”

A recipient of both distinguished teaching and research awards, Dr. Schneider has published five books, one an introductory botany textbook at the collegiate level and four related to CEO & trustee governance. He is also the author of over 120 scientific, peer-reviewed papers. He has been a member of several organizations, including President of the Botanical Society of America (BSA) and President of The Texas Academy of Sciences, and on the board for the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC), American Public Garden Association (APGA), American Association of Museums (AAM), and the International Water Lily Society (IWLS).

His honors include Fellow of the Texas Academy of Science; Hall of Fame in the International Waterlily Society; Distinguished Alumnus, Central Washington University; Botanical Society of America Award of Merit, and Centennial Award; the Centennial Medallion for excellence and distinction from Texas State University; American Association of Museums Excellence in Service Award; and Outstanding Faculty Member, University of California, Santa Barbara. He was recently honored by the Botanical Society of American with a colloquium, a tribute to his three-decades-plus of scientific research in water lily (Nymphaeales) structure and function.

BRIT’s search for a new executive director began in June 2014 after long-time director Dr. S. H. Sohmer announced his retirement. The selection was made after an exhaustive national search and selection process.

Schneider is enthusiastically looking forward to moving back to Texas by January 2016.

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Chris Chilton
Botanical Research Institute of Texas
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