Eric Siegel, a longtime leader of museums and botanical gardens in New York City, will take over the reins of the UC Botanical Garden in Strawberry Canyon on July 1, when current director Paul Licht steps down.
The selection follows a nationwide search for a replacement for Licht, a professor emeritus of integrative biology who has led the UC Botanical Garden for a 13-year-period, in which he oversaw the move of Julia Morgan Hall, a building designed by renowned Berkeley architect Julia Morgan, from campus to the garden, oversaw research at the garden and expanded its profile, membership and visits.
Licht also became the enthusiastic and oft-interviewed cheerleader for crowds checking out the garden’s mating newts and the rare and spectacularly stinky flowerings of tropical titan arums, known for good reason as corpse flowers.
Siegel has served for 11 years as director and chief content officer of the New York Hall of Science, which in 2015 received the Institute of Museum and Library Service National Medal. In 2014, Siegel was honored with the Association of Science-Technology Centers’ Leading Edge Award for Exceptional Leadership.
Prior to his role at the New York Hall of Science, Siegel served at Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center in the Bronx, and the New York Botanical Garden, which along with the UC Botanical Garden is being voted on as one of USA Today’s top botanical gardens in the United States.
Siegel earned an MBA in arts administration from the State University of New York, Binghamton, and has taught graduate courses in museum management and exhibition design at New York University.
In announcing Siegel’s hiring, the campus noted his experience launching innovative initiatives, leading strategic planning and facilities expansion projects, developing public and educational programs, and running development campaigns.
He will join the UC Botanical Garden on April 18 and help with the transition from Licht’s leadership.