It is with deep gratitude that the Arboretum will be soon say a bittersweet farewell to Donna Paulnock, Arboretum interim director since 2012.
Donna’s tenure at the Arboretum has been one of great change, especially notable for forward-looking administrative and budgetary restructuring. She oversaw the center’s transition to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE) at the university, penned the center’s successful 2015 review, and designed the Arboretum’s organizational restructuring. Her warm personality and the value she has always placed on personal relationships, along with her sincere dedication to the Arboretum, have endeared her to many here and in the university and Madison community.
Donna joined the UW–Madison faculty in 1983 as a Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She later joined the Graduate School as an Associate Dean for the Biological Sciences, a role that led to her being named interim director of the Arboretum in 2012.
The next phase of Donna’s life includes a return to her department in the School of Medicine and Public Health, followed by retirement in early 2018 to Martha’s Vineyard. There, she and her husband, Professor John Mansfield, who will retire from the Department of Bacteriology, plan to share their love of the ocean by spending as much time as possible sailing, fishing, and simply being near the water.
Donna’s last day at the Arboretum will be September 30. The Arboretum’s incoming director, Karen Oberhauser, will begin October 1.
On behalf of the entire Arboretum community, we say thank you, Donna, and best wishes for your next adventure.