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Herbarium building at night

William and Lynda Steere

William and Lynda Steere

In 2002, Mr. William C. Steere Junior and his wife Lynda helped endow the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium of The New York Botanical Garden, the foundation of the Garden’s Research and Conservation Division. William C. Steere, Jr., Chairman of the Board Emeritus of Pfizer Inc., Vice Chairman of the Garden’s Board and Chairman of the Campaign for Science in the Campaign for A New Era: 2001-2007, has been one of the visionaries behind The New York Botanical Garden’s recent renaissance. His interests in education and plant research have made him one of the primary thinkers in the Garden’s strategic planning.

Mr. Steere served as the Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer, Inc., from 1991 to 2000, and Chairman of the Board Emeritus from 2001 to 2011. He served as Vice Chairman of the Garden’s Board and Chairman of the Campaign for Science in the Campaign for A New Era: 2001-2007. His interests in education and plant research have made him one of the primary thinkers in the Garden’s strategic planning.

Born on June 17, 1936, Mr. Steere graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Biology in 1959. Mr. Steere’s association with the Garden goes back to childhood. His father, Dr. William Steere, Sr., a noted botanist, served as the Garden’s Director and President from 1958 to 1972.

William C. Steere Senior

In 2000, the NYBG bryophyte herbarium was named the William C. Steere Bryophyte Herbarium, in honor of one of the 20th century’s most influential bryologists and President of The New York Botanical Garden from 1958 to 1972.

William C. Steere Senior was born in 1907 to a Michigan family of naturalists, farmers and academicians. A very vigorous man physically and intellectually, he conducted field research throughout the world. A special interest was the mosses in arctic regions, where he spent many field seasons and contributed more than 15,000 foundational collections for the Illustrated Moss Flora of Arctic North America and Greenland.

In 1957, Steere left his position as Dean of Graduate Studies at Stanford University to become the President of The New York Botanical Garden. He initiated changes at the Garden that bolstered the research staff and improved the working conditions of the entire Garden staff, and indeed those of all employees at cultural institutions throughout New York City. Through his work with the National Science Foundation on behalf of all U.S. research collections, Steere helped to start a funding program to improve conditions and support day-to-day activities at those collections that serve as international research resources.

Bill’s wife of 60 years, Dorothy Osbourne Steere, was an active participant in her husband’s career and his constant travel companion.