Linda Brown, the esteemed Business Office Manager of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) from 1996 to 2019, is the recipient of the 2019 ASPT Distinguished Service Award. Linda is recognized for her significant contributions that have been instrumental in the success and growth of ASPT during her tenure. Linda first took on managerial duties for ASPT as an assistant to the Treasurer in 1996; little did she know what that first job would blossom into! As a Society, we have come to depend heavily on Linda’s institutional memory and knowledge, boundless commitment, unwavering dedication, and amazing fortitude over the past 23 years. She has truly been the engine that has kept ASPT moving forward.
ASPT officers past and present have highlighted her personal commitment to the Society, her wealth of knowledge that has been essential to the organization’s leadership, and her effective execution of an exceptionally diverse set of tasks necessary to run a professional organization. The fourteen letters of nomination each provided details of her talents and tremendous impact as well as her regular inclination to go beyond the call of duty. As one letter pointed out, her title of “Business Office Manager” was too modest given her unparalleled leadership, organization, efficiency, and wisdom. There is no doubt that she has been the bedrock of the organization; her efforts to keep the society on budget, to develop and implement necessary policies, and to keep council members on task is evident in the successes of ASPT over the years. Much of her work behind the scenes has been completed with a patience that is awe- inspiring and, as one past president notes, “borders on saintly.” We have all benefited from her flexibility and grace in seeing tasks to completion.
Linda’s commitment to ASPT has undoubtedly contributed to its success, but has also played an especially important role in serving student members. She has been the face of the Society to many hundreds of early career researchers who have verified their student status with her during the process of becoming ASPT members, received research awards and travel grants from her on behalf of the Society, and visited the ASPT booth at the annual Botany conference. Our Society will be forever in her debt for her numerous contributions. While she will be sorely missed (and the Society may fall apart without her steadfast leadership) we wish her the best in retirement.