RALEIGH – Dr. Betsy Bennett today announced her retirement, effective at the end of December, after more than two decades as director of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. Bennett’s drive and vision, with the support of donors, volunteers and staff, expanded the museum from cramped quarters to a world-class institution that has become a North Carolina landmark. The museum now links visitors and students to scientists around the globe and recently celebrated the opening of the Nature Research Center wing.
Dr. Bennett issued the following statement:
“Today I am announcing my retirement as director, effective December 31, 2012. I am proud of what we have built together here at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences over the past 22 years. North Carolina’s natural resources have always been a national treasure, and here at the Museum, our mission of sharing a deeper understanding of our natural world has been realized a hundred times over.
“Now, with the opening of the Nature Research Center, my work is close to complete. With the help of the state of North Carolina, the private sector, a devoted staff and so many generous individuals, we have built a world-renowned center for the study of our state and our world. What a tremendous gift to the people of North Carolina.
“In only 60 days, more than 300,000 people have poured through our doors, potentially pushing us to more than a million visitors this year. In my time at the museum, we have played host to visitors from every county in the state, every state in the nation and from all over the world.
“I leave this place with a touch of sadness but no regrets. We now have a sustainable institution with talented and committed leadership and staff and with unlimited potential. (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) Secretary Dee Freeman and our Friends Board have formed a search committee which has hired counsel and will conduct a national search for my successor. Mike Murphy, Friends Board Chair, will lead the committee.
“One of our founders, H.H. Brimley, said, “The building of a museum is a never-ending work.”
“The Museum of Natural Sciences is thriving!
“And so, I have given my all to this great enterprise. We have an awesome team and I am certain the future is exceptionally bright for this museum. I look forward to working with the boards and staff to assure a smooth transition. A big piece of my heart will always be right here at the museum.”
[Editors: Attached please find a copy of Dr. Bennett’s biography. The News & Observer story honoring Dr. Bennett as “Tarheel of the Year” for 2011 can be found athttp://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/01/1745457/betsy-bennett.html ]