Peter J. Olin Endowed Director, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Amy Smith

Chaska, MN


This is a remarkable opportunity to make significant strides in one of our nation’s top public gardens, at a time when University and community enthusiasm for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (MLA) is strong.

Reporting to the Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), the Peter J. Olin Endowed Director will have the opportunity to develop a long-term vision and strategic plan for the next decade and beyond. The plan will address all aspects of the MLA, including capital projects, horticulture, ecosystem design and management, research, education, and philanthropy all while building a diverse, equitable, inclusive, world class culture and workforce. The future of the MLA will also be focused on its financial growth that includes growing the endowment and increasing earned revenue support.


The MLA is within the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) at the University of Minnesota. The MLA is one of the top visitor attractions in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and an important part of the culture, education, and economy of the Twin Cities and the Upper Midwest. It serves a broad audience with more than 500,000 visitors annually and 32,000 members as a beautiful in-town getaway, an escape to reflect, re-energize or plan for the future and connect with the wonders of nature. The MLA consists of almost 1200 acres of unique public gardens including 49 display and specialty gardens, 18+ miles of garden paths and hiking trails (a 1.5 mile stretch of the Highway 5 Regional Trail on property not included in this total), 44 plant collections, 6,100 taxa of plants, and 8 native and restored natural areas. World class exhibits, events, and innovative natural science and horticultural education inspire individuals of all interests and ages. It is ever growing and improving the visitor experience and opportunities to educate and inspire Minnesotans through its plant collections with display gardens, horticultural research, programs, and 155 art collections. In the coming years, several major projects - funded through a generous private gift - will relocate the MLA entrance, create new visitor welcome areas, enhance safety, protect the MLA's assets, and create opportunities for further expansion. Philanthropy will continue to determine the pace of further development. Learn more about the programs and activities at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.


Required Qualifications:


  • A Bachelor's degree or higher in a relevant field including horticulture, landscape architecture, plant biology, business administration, education or a field related to public gardens
  • Minimum of five-years of relevant experience in leading and managing complex organizations
  • A significant record of accomplishments that include revenue generation, endowment building and
  • fundraising success
  • Demonstrated administrative and governance ability
  • Demonstrated success in past job performance
  • Demonstrated interpersonal and public communication skills and public speaking experience
  • Ability to forge positive collaborative relationships with diverse public constituencies, private stakeholders and business interests
  • Documented competency managing complex budgets
  • Documented experience with strategic plan formulation, development, implementation, and evaluation
  • Documented engagement with diverse audiences


Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience and qualifications. The minimum starting salary for this position is $200,000. For more information regarding benefits, see Summary of Benefits. Learn more about diversity at the University of Minnesota.


The MLA’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion


All Are Welcome. We recognize and value the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the experience of its employees, donors, members, volunteers and visitors and in supporting the MLA mission.


All Are Valued. We are committed to attracting and engaging employees, members, donors, volunteers and visitors with varying identities and backgrounds.


All Are Included. We strive to provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, services, gardens, operations and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.


Employer Requirements

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our

presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not

automatically disqualify finalists from employment.


Please note: All employees at the University of Minnesota are required to report complete vaccination

against COVID-19 or submit documentation requesting a medical or religious exemption on their first day

of employment. To learn more, please visit the University's COVID-19 Response webpage.


For More Info and To Apply

To apply, please submit a current resume and letter of introduction to Kittleman & Associates, by clicking on the Apply button at the bottom of the page.


Learn more about the programs and activities at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.


Documents to download


Contact Details