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Mary Brinegar

At its annual conference in Galveston in late October, the Texas Society of Architects announced its 2019 Honor Award recipients, including Mary Brinegar, Dallas Arboretum president and CEO, who was presented with an Honorary AIA Membership. This membership is the highest award that the organization bestows on an individual for outstanding achievements in support of the profession of architecture, the built environment and quality of life in Texas.

According to 2019 Texas Society of Architects President Mike Hellinghausen, AIA, “Mary has served as president and CEO of the Dallas Arboretum for more than 20 years. In her time there, she has transformed the park from an underfunded local attraction into an internationally acclaimed public garden. Working with architects and designers, she’s restored historic structures in the park and create new environments to elevate the public’s experience. The park now draws more than one million guests each year. For her stewardship of the Dallas Arboretum, and for her appreciation for the enduring value of good design to Dallas and Texas, we are pleased to present Honorary Membership to Mary Brinegar.”

J. Mark Wolf, AIA, former Dallas Arboretum chairman, who was involved in the nomination submittal, added, “Mary has devoted her career to growing and managing nonprofits at a high level of excellence.  She has done so with careful attention to detail and an ability to create new structures while preserving historic ones. Mary is first and without fail a diligent steward of the organization’s resources as well as an outstanding ambassador for its mission. Her attitude and commitment enables the organization’s goals and successes to be paramount.”

At the Dallas Arboretum, Brinegar is responsible for the management of a full time staff of 170 and for the annual operating budget of $24.6 million. She has won many awards for her fundraising leadership and accomplishments while at the garden. Since she joined the botanic garden, the board and staff have raised more than $100 million dollars for capital improvements including new buildings, gardens and the renovation of onsite historic homes.

Two notable accomplishments include award-winning gardens dedicated to teaching and growing plants and children’s minds:

The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden: This eight-acre garden set the gold standard for children’s outdoor educational facilities when it opened in fall 2013. This garden provides an innovative place for preschool through middle school children to learn about life and earth sciences.

A Tasteful Place:  Opened in 2017, A Tasteful Place, designed to mirror an ornamental kitchen garden or "potager" as it is called by the French, is an edible display garden, complete with a lagoon and meandering walkways. The 3.5-acre garden, comprised of artfully arranged features, includes a pavilion with event space, a teaching kitchen, an orchard, beds of ornamental display vegetables, herbs and flowers, as well as shaded porches and walkways. 

Every year, the Dallas Arboretum has received accolades from national and local media outlets noting the garden’s superlative work – from its festival design to permanent garden developments and outstanding buildings.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake at 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218 and is also the home of the internationally acclaimed Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. The garden is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Dallas Morning News is the principal partner of the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is supported, in part, by funds from the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.  WFAA is an official media sponsor for the Dallas Arboretum. For more information, call 214.515.6500 or visit



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