By Maureen K. Chilton, Chairman, New York Botanical Garden
Mar. 29, 2017: Thomas J. Hubbard, former Bronxville resident and ardent advocate of The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), died March 20, 2017.
He and his wife, long-serving Garden trustee Anne Hubbard, were central figures in the New York Botanical Garden's renaissance and made a tremendous impact on global plant research and conservation through their philanthropy.
Tom was elected to NYBG's board of trustees in 1975 and joined the executive committee in 1977. He had a keen interest in the Garden's operation, and, throughout the '70s and '80s, when the Garden and all New York City cultural institutions were operating under severe fiscal constraints, he would visit weekly to meet with staff and offer his expertise as well as encouragement and reassurance.
In 1991, Tom was named chairman of the board, and he worked closely with the staff to lay the foundation for a reinvigorated NYBG that now welcomes more than one million visitors each year.
During Tom's tenure as chairman, NYBG restored the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, opened the 12-acre Everett Children's Adventure Garden, established the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics, and built the International Plant Science Center.
Tom retired as chairman of the Board and was elected chairman emeritus in 2000 and continued in that role until his death.
In a letter to NYBG board members and friends of NYBG, the following is stated about Tom and Anne:
Tom and Anne's philanthropy has been vital to the Garden, and together they established seven endowed chairs. Their interest in the institutional history of NYBG, particularly its research, is evident as all of the chairs carry the names of central figures of the Garden's botanical legacy. Through their generosity, one of the best known, most iconic books on North American plants, the Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada (NYBG Press, 1991) by Garden scientists Henry Gleason and Arthur Cronquist, is currently being completely updated. The Hubbards' largesse also helped to found the Garden's new Center for Conservation Strategy.
Earlier this month, the Executive Committee voted to bestow the Gold Medal of The New York Botanical Garden, the institution’s highest honor, to Tom and Anne for their unwavering service and dedication to the Garden's mission.
Tom was an anchor in our lives and a figure of historical importance in this institution. We will miss his wise counsel, humor, and Yankee candor, and we extend our deepest sympathies to Anne, their children, extended family, and friends.