Mary Pat Matheson
Anna and Hays Mershon President and Chief Executive Officer
Since 2002, Matheson has directed all operations for the 30-acre public garden, and under her leadership, the nonprofit organization has actively expanded fund-raising, education, marketing, business administration, horticulture and conservation efforts with a rapidly growing membership base of more than 40,000. Additionally, she is responsible for the development of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Gainesville, a 185-acre public garden in Gainesville, Georgia.
She also was the driving force behind a $55 million capital campaign completed in 2012 that enabled the Garden to expand, doubling its size to 30 acres with a new Visitor Center, SAGE Parking Facility, Canopy Walk and Edible Garden. Currently, she is concluding a $50 million capital campaign, launched in 2014, that has supported the development of new gardens, expanded facilities, a new restaurant and a renovated children’s garden.
Matheson was named one of 14 Women of Excellence by Business to Business magazine, 2005 Professional of the Year by the American Horticultural Society and the Lexus Leader of the Arts by Public Broadcasting Atlanta. The meteoric growth in Garden attendance over 16 years has enabled it to reach larger and broader audiences for its mission in educating the public about its plant and animal conservation efforts.
Matheson is a past president of the American Public Gardens Association and has served on the board of directors for the Midtown Alliance, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau Cultural Tourism Committee, and the International Woman’s Forum. Before joining the Garden, Matheson was Executive Director of the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum in Salt Lake City. Originally a horticulturist, she earned a B.S. in Resource Management & Park Planning and an Executive Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Utah.