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Arboretum Director Receives Inaugural Bosey Foote Award

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    Stephen D. Pearson, Director of UM’s Gifford Arboretum, Receives Inaugural ‘Bosey’ Foote Prize

    Deserae E. del Campo
    Special to UM News

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 21, 2017) – When Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote came to the University of Miami in 1981, the institution’s Coral Gables campus could be described as a large swath of concrete and cement. But Foote, the spouse of UM’s fourth president, Edward T. “Tad” Foote II, changed all that, spearheading an effort to beautify the campus with palms, cycads, and other plant life and becoming an ardent supporter of UM’s John C. Gifford Arboretum, a collection of rare plants and trees maintained for educational and research purposes.

    Though she passed away two years ago, her legacy lives on—in the leaves, blades of grass, and flowers that bloom on UM’s campus and in the name of a new award that honors her memory.

    Last Friday, as part of the University’s Earth Day activities, Stephen D. Pearson, director of the Gifford Arboretum, accepted the inaugural Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize for Natural Campus Beautification at UM. “I am so happy to receive this honor,” said Pearson, a retired attorney and passionate plant lover who is now in his fifth year as director of the arboretum, which, he said, is rightfully “getting the recognition it deserves.”

    Nestled behind the Knight Physics Building, the arboretum is a peaceful oasis that is home to a diverse collection of more than 450 trees and other plants—the perfect place to meditate, be one with nature, and disconnect from the constant campus buzz.

    “It is a wonderful place with a collection of plants and trees perfect for research opportunities within the community and the University. It truly is a beautiful treasure,” Pearson said at the awards ceremony, held on the University Center Lakeside Patio prior to UM’s Hug the Lake event.

    “For many years, Steve has been a dynamic and passionate advocate for the arboretum,” said UM President Julio Frenk, who presented Pearson with the award. “Congratulations, Steve, for this well-deserved honor, and thank you to the Foote family. We are very grateful for the legacy left by your parents and everything they did to build this great University.”

    For more than two decades Pearson has been a member of the board of directors of the Montgomery Botanical Center. During his time as chairman of the City of Miami’s Beautification Committee in the 1990s, Pearson led volunteers in planting flowering and native trees along Interstate-95 and other highways. He was honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Florida Urban Forestry Council and the National Outstanding Volunteer Award from American Forests and the National Urban Forestry Council.

    The Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize was established by her children at the 2016 memorial service for President Foote.


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