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U-M names new director of Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Nichols Arboretum

The University of Michigan announced that Anthony J. Kolenic will return to Ann Arbor to become the director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

Kolenic will start his five-year appointment on March 1 and will oversee 40 staff and partners at U-M who maintain and support more than 840 acres at the Matthaei-Nichols properties.

He succeeds Bob Grese, who retired in June after holding the position since 2004. Program manager of Matthaei-Nichols, David Betz, has been serving as interim director since Grese retired and will continue until Kolenic’s start date.

“MBGNA is vital to the university’s mission and serves as a catalyst for sustainability and inclusive community engagement and education,” Kolenic said in a statement. “I look forward to working with campus and community partners to protect, restore and utilize MBGNA to its fullest extent.”

Kolenic previously served at the university as associate director and interim executive director of ArtsEngine and the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities from 2013-2015.


Read: U-M’s Matthaei-Nichols launches #everydayoutdoors challenge

While at U-M, Kolenic was co-principal investigator for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Project, a $500,000 effort that spanned three years to create the first guide for integrating arts practices at U.S. universities.

Prior to joining U-M, he taught from 2006 to 2012 at Michigan State University’s Center for the Integrative Studies of Arts and Humanities.

In 2015, Kolenic joined University of Florida’s College of the Arts where he currently serves as associate professor of digital arts and sciences and associate dean for research and strategic initiatives.

“As a leader, Dr. Kolenic has demonstrated an impressive ability to effectively combine vision and action,” Michael Solomon, dean of the Rackham Graduate School and vice provost for academic affairs said in a statement. “I am confident that he will build relationships with scholars, students and the broader public to further strengthen their engagement with Matthaei-Nichols, along with supporting its dedicated community of staff, interns and volunteers.”

Kolenic holds three degrees from Michigan State University, including a master’s and Ph.D. in American Studies and a bachelor’s degree in social relations.


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