William “Bill” Cullina ’86 has been named the executive director of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine. Founded in 1991, the gardens of the non-profit organization encompass a 250-acre waterfront area, and have become a major attraction for the state since opening to the public in 2007.
“Bill has impressed staff, volunteers, and board members alike with his vision, presence, management skill, business head, and calm-yet-fun demeanor,” said Gardens’ President Susan Russell at a reception marking the official announcement of Cullina’s position.
Cullina’s new duties include managing the staff and operations, as well as aiding in the planning of the waterfront growth project. His work will also allow him to lead workshops and give presentations at the gardens, educating others on plant life and his unique approach to gardening.
Noted for his expertise as a horticulturist, with an astounding knowledge of native plants, Cullina is a forefront leader in the field. Over his career, he has published five books, including his most recent work, “Understanding Perennials,” published in 2009, and is a regular contributor to a number of magazines and journals including “Horticulture” and “Fine Gardening.”
In addition to his written work, Cullina has also shared his expertise on numerous television programs and radio shows such as “The Martha Stewart Show” and “Living on Earth.” He has spoken and presented at various conferences and institutions throughout his career.
Cullina is the recipient of several major awards including the Garden Club of America’s Sarah Chapman Francis Medal, which acknowledges his outstanding literary achievement and the 2012 Scott Horticultural Medal, which is considered by many to be America’s most prestigious horticulture-related award.
Prior to being appointed to the position of executive director, Cullina served as director of horticulture and plant curator. At the New England Wild Flower Society, Cullina served as was nursery director and head propagator for more than a decade, helping to create the largest native plant nursery in New England. He also acted as nursery manager at Niche Gardens in Chapel Hill, N.C. While working at both locations, he was integral in the development of eight new plants.
Cullina graduated from Hobart in 1986 with a B.A. in psychology. On campus, he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honors society, and worked at the college radio station WEOS. In 1991, he received his B.S. in plant sciences, with concentrations in landscape architecture and horticulture, from the University of Connecticut. Cullina also currently works as a volunteer firefighter for the town of Southport, Maine, and serves on the board of the Boothbay Region Land Trust.