Arnold Arboretum Welcomes Tanya Holton as Director of Institutional Advancement

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With more than 30 years of experience Holton will play a pivotal role for the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University ahead of its 150th anniversary in 2022.


As Director of Institutional Advancemen, Holton will cultivate and steward relationships with members, donors, and the public to help others understand our shared past, the power of plants, and the work being done to create a better world for future generations—ensuring the Arboretum’s relevancy and vibrancy into the next century.

“Tanya has been an agent of change in nonprofit fundraising, administration, and programming in Boston for over three decades,” said William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum. “As we prepare for the Arboretum’s sesquicentennial in 2022, Tanya’s respect for the healing power of nature, along with her deep experience in transforming nonprofits, will be essential for galvanizing support around our bold vision for the future. We are excited to welcome her onboard.”

She attended Stanford University, and received her BA and Masters from the University of Cambridge in England. Her family of writers and artists also share the deep connection with the landscape that goes beyond the simple act of noticing the beauty, power, and relevance of plants. Outside of her work at the Arboretum, she researches and writes about nineteenth-century American education, focusing equally on women’s higher education and art education in female academies and seminaries. She is passionate about conservation and preservation as a way of understanding our past and creating a better world for future generations.

“Over my many years of spending time at the Arnold Arboretum, I have been inspired by their unique approach to ecology – one that is as much about people as about the plants around them,” said Holton. “When I read a letter to the editor from Ned Friedman stating that an essential step in combatting climate change is for people to build richer relationships with plants, I felt truly moved and inspired. I am thrilled to be part of the Arboretum’s administrative team alongside those caring for the trees and on the research bench and look forward to cultivating relationships that will ensure the Arboretum’s relevancy as a 21st century institution.”

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