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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Donald Rakow

Donald A. Rakow is an associate professor of horticulture and the former Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations (now the Cornell Botanic Gardens). His teaching and research focus is the history and management of public gardens and the social, economic, political, and religious motivations for gardening. He is the coauthor of Public Garden Management: A Complete Guide to the Planning and Administration of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, the first-ever textbook on the management of public gardens.

Don received his BA from the State University of New York at Albany in 1973, his master’s in professional studies in ornamental horticulture from Cornell in 1977, and his PhD from Cornell in urban horticulture in 1988. Don is very active with the American Public Gardens Association, on whose board he has served. In 2009, he received the Award of Merit from the Association in recognition of his many years of service.

Alumni Q&A with Don Rakow

In this CornellCast audio recording, Don talks to alumni about the Plantations' planting choices, steps toward sustainability, the gardens' hidden gems, and what sets the Plantations apart from other university gardens.