Message from the President

It is an honor to serve as the new President of the Society of Herbarium Curators, and I thank the leadership and membership for handing off a healthy and vibrant organization. In particular, I would like to thank Austin Mast (R. K. Godfrey Herbarium, Florida State University) for his superb service as President over the past two years, Lucinda McDade (Herbarium of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden) who just completed her three-year term as Member-at-Large, and Andrea Weeks (Ted R. Bradley Herbarium, George Mason University) for her service as Past-President and Program Chair. Also, I would like to welcome our newest board member Maribeth Latvis (C. A. Taylor Herbarium, South Dakota State University), who was elected Member-at-Large.

The Society has been very active this past year, and as evidenced from Austin Mast’s column in this issue of The Vasculum, the list of accomplishments is impressive. In the upcoming year, we plan to keep the momentum going. Priorities include rolling out the new Developing Country Membership category, making headway on establishing an endowment, and making various improvements to the SHC website, to name a few. As for more aspirational goals and building on the success of the post-Botany workshop and the SHC Strategic Planning for your Herbarium course, it would be beneficial for the Society to think about other educational activities that we might support to provide even more value-added service to the community. If you have suggestions, please let me know.

Over the next year, I also hope to see the Society and its members play an active role in discussions about the future of biodiversity collections. Over the past several years, hundreds of institutions around the world have been engaged in a monumental specimen digitization and mobilization effort. The digitization task has energized biodiversity collections and the wealth of data and images that have resulted from digitization activities has given collections a renewed relevance, enabling much new research. Now, there are discussions about what kinds of activities biodiversity collections should prioritize going forward with a developing emphasis on how to further promote digitized specimen data for research. As members of the herbarium collections community, I encourage you as individuals to play an active role in participating in these discussions at a national and international level.

I’m looking forward to sustaining the great momentum and direction of the Society. Thanks very much for your past and future support in these efforts. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to offer your ideas on how to make the Society more successful. Finally, if you would like to nominate yourself for an elected position, contact the Nominating Committee Chair Austin Mast (, or me to be considered for a committee role.

Patrick Sweeney
Yale University Herbarium, Senior Curator

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