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Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Announces New Executive Director

8 June 2013


The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dr. Lucinda McDade the eighth executive director effective June 1, 2013.

McDade is the Judith B. Friend Director of Research at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) and chair of the Claremont Graduate University Department of Botany; positions she has held since 2006. She served as the RSABG interim executive director from November 2012 until May 2013.

“Lucinda McDade is an exceptional leader and extraordinary individual,” said Elin Dowd, chair of the Board of Trustees. “She is a scholar of the first rank and an inspirational executive with a collaborative style. We are ecstatic that she has agreed to lead Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.”

“It is a very special honor to be chosen to lead Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, a Garden that has inspired me since I first visited here in the late 1980s. It is an exciting institution, with a strong foundation and exciting prospects,” said McDade. “I am humbled by the appointment and eager to guide an organization renowned for scientific rigor, plant conservation and social engagement in the appreciation of California native plants and global plant diversity.”

As well as organization leader, McDade is a professor of botany. Her primary research interests are in the large plant family of Acanthaceae, the role of hybridization in plant evolutionary history, phylogeny reconstruction and plant reproductive biology. She has published many papers in the field and has served as president of Association for Tropical Biology and American Society of Plant Taxonomists. McDade has won numerous research grants from the federal National Science Foundation and from private foundations including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Fletcher Jones Foundation.


Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, founded in 1927 by Susanna Bixby Bryant, is the largest botanic garden dedicated to California native plants. The Garden is located on 86 acres in Claremont, approximately 35 miles east of Los Angeles. RSABG, a private, nonprofit organization, brings conservation applications to the public through horticultural education, scientific research and sales of native plants at Grow Native Nursery.

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden generously hosts BGCI U.S. staff member, Abby Hird.


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