FIU establishes Montgomery Botanical Graduate Fellowship

FIU and Montgomery Botanical Center in Coral Gables have entered into a joint research collaboration.

College of Arts & Sciences Dean Kenneth G. Furton and Montgomery Executive Director M. Patrick Griffith, MBA ’08, signed an agreement Aug. 6 to create the Montgomery Botanical Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship will fund a Research Assistant at FIU, who will perform guided research in palms, cycads, and botanic garden conservation. Michael Calonje, a Ph.D. student and researcher at Montgomery, has been named the first Montgomery Botanical Graduate Fellow.

“Formal and informal relationships between FIU and MBC can be traced back over 20 years, highlighting a record of collaboration amongst scientists,” Furton said. “This new and energetic relationship with Montgomery Botanical Center capitalizes on FIU’s recognized strength in tropical botany and conservation biology.”

The College of Arts & Sciences is being reorganized into thematic schools, in part, to articulate and enhance the research strengths of FIU’s largest college. The research collaboration with Montgomery will help advance research initiatives in the natural sciences within the School of Environment and Society.

“The Board of Directors at MBC is very excited about this agreement,” Griffith said. “This marks a significant commitment to education and research in botany by both our garden and the university.”

Established in 1959, Montgomery Botanical Center advances botanical research, conserves rare plant species and educates the community through lectures, publications and tours of its plant collections.

Patrick, along with Montgomery Outreach Manager Tracy Magellan, designed the FIU fellowship program with Furton, FIU Senior Associate Dean of Sciences Suzanna Rose and FIU Assistant Dean of Development Robert Callahan.

Information about Montgomery Botanical Center is available by visiting the center’s website.