Steering Committee

The Wilmot Botanical Gardens Steering Committee provides strategic leadership in support of the gardens’ mission and includes key stakeholders from the UF Health Science Center, the Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, garden staff and the community.

C. Craig Tisher, MD, director of Wilmot Botanical Gardens and former dean of the College of Medicine, and Leah Diehl, RLA, HTM, director of therapeutic horticulture serve on the committee as staff members, in addition to the following volunteer committee members:

C. Craig Tisher, MD

Dr. Tisher is an Emeritus Professor at UF and Director of the Wilmot Botanical Gardens. He received his M.D. degree in 1961 from Washington University of St. Louis. Following residency training and military service he joined the medical faculty at Duke University in 1969. in 1980 he accepted a position in nephrology at the University of Florida where he has been a faculty member in the College of Medicine for 41 years. Leadership positions he has held at UF include Dean of the College of Medicine and later, the Associate Vice-President for Program Development in the Health Science Center. He has been responsible for the oversight of the Wilmot Botanical Gardens including its facilities, staff and programs for the past 15 years. It was his vision that led originally to the initiative to restore the gardens beginning in 2006. He is the author of 125 peer-reviewed clinical and scientific articles, 91 chapters and has written and edited 10 books.


Elizabeth R.M. Diehl, MLA

Ms. Diehl is director of the Wilmot Botanical Gardens therapeutic horticulture program, a position she has held since 2012 and Lecturer in the environmental horticulture department since 2018. She received a B.A. degree in Art, Art History and Architecture in 1991 from the University of Illinois and her Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture in 1993 from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a registered horticulture therapist as recognized by the American Horticulture Therapy Association and was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture from 1999-2015. She is well-published and has won numerous awards for her professional achievements including the Lifetime Membership Award granted by the American Horticulture Therapy Association for service to the AHTA and the profession.

Bart Schutzman, PhD

Dr. Bart Schutzman received his B.S. degree in Plant Science from the University of California at Davis in 1980, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Science from the University of Florida in 1982 and 1998, respectively. His field of expertise in plant taxonomy. His M.S. and Ph.D. research was conducted in Mexico, and discovered and named several species of Zamia and related cycads. He currently teaches plant identification courses in the Department of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida, and has also taught Residential Horticulture and Plant Propagation. Dr. Schutzman is the Director of Publications for the Cycad Society, and was editor of the Cycad Newsletter from 2000 until 2007.

Michael Kane, PhD

Dr. Michael Kane is a distinguished teaching scholar and Professor Emeritus in the environmental horticulture department at the University of Florida. He is experienced in the application of plant tissue culture for development of commercially viable in vitro propagation (micropropagation) procedures. His research emphasis has been centered on the development and physiological basis for micropropagation protocol optimization for diverse crops. Before retiring in 2019 he taught practical hands-on undergraduate/graduate level courses on the micropropagation of horticulture crops. In recognition of his teaching and research efforts, he was elected as a Fellow of the Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB) in 2009 and in 2014 he received the SIVB Life Time Achievement Award.

Charles Guy, PhD

Charles L. Guy, PhD

Charles Guy is presently Professor Emeritus of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry in the Department of Environmental Horticulture. He was a professor with the department from 1984 to 2018, and was a founding member of the intercollege Plant Molecular & Cellular Biology PhD Program. He taught BCH 5045 Graduate Survey of Biochemistry in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences for 22 years, and co-taught BOT 6532 Plant Biochemistry in the Plant and Molecular & Cellular Biology Program for 16 years. He was Chair-elect and Chair of the IFAS Faculty Assembly in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 respectively. Dr. Guy was a teaching and research Fulbright Scholar from 2012-2013 at the Universidad de la Frontera in Temuco, Chile. His research specialty throughout his career has focused on plant responses to the environment, primarily temperature extremes. Dr. Guy has authored and co-authored more than 100 research publications. More recently, Dr. Guy has worked with the therapeutic horticulture program at Wilmot Botanical Gardens and conducted research on the therapeutic benefits of people-plant interactions. He has served on the editorial boards of several plant biology journals. Dr. Guy also served for three years on the Scientific and Technology Advisory Panel for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the manager of the International Space Station National Laboratory, and on the Board of Directors for the Fulbright Association North Florida Chapter.

Tom Harris

Tom V. Harris, MBA

Tom Harris is a native of Gainesville. He graduated from the University of Florida with a BSBA and an MBA. After a tour of active duty in the military he returned to work at the Health Science Center for 39 years before retiring in 2010. In the College of Medicine, he was the associate dean for administrative affairs and also served as the associate vice president for administrative affairs in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Affairs.

Carol Walker

Carol Walker

Besides volunteering at Wilmot Botanical Gardens, she volunteers as a project manager for the Turkey Creek Master Owners Association and is president of CJW CFPC Consulting, LLC, a construction consulting practice.

Professionally, Carol was a member of the Medical Group Management Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and Construction Owners of America. She served as chair for the SUS Facility Planners Group and made presentations at various organizations, including the Florida Educational Planners Association, Tradelines and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Carol Walker served as assistant vice president for the Planning, Design and Construction Division at the University of Florida. She retired in October 2014, after more than 30 years of service at the UF and Shands Hospital. Her positions included department manager for the Shands Renal Program, ER and unit manager, project manager for the College of Medicine Ambulatory Care Project and assistant vice president for the Health Science Center. During her career at UF, more than $4 billion in construction was completed under her leadership.

Robert Watson, MD

Robert T. Watson, MD

Robert T. Watson, MD, is a 1969 graduate of the University of Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Watson served as a professor of neurology, neuroscience and clinical neurology at the University of Florida for more than three decades. He served as the senior associate dean for educational affairs at the University of Florida College of Medicine for 17 years, and as the Jules B. Chapman, MD Professor in Clinical Care and Humaneness for 12 years. Since 2008 he has served as the executive associate dean for administrative affairs at Florida State University College of Medicine. In this capacity he is assisting the medical school through its second accreditation while participating in planning the medical school’s future.

Dr. Watson is an acknowledged authority on curriculum, having published many articles, including “Rediscovering the Medical School” in Academic Medicine, July 2003. He helped develop the concept of Mission-Based Budgeting, and is recognized as its “grandfather”. Dr. Watson is also recognized as an outstanding teacher and student advocate, having received the Hippocratic Award from the University of Florida Class of 1985, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a faculty member. He was chosen as a 2005 Association of American Medical College’s Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award recipient, the highest national recognition for contributions to the education mission.

Dr. Watson serves on state, regional and national committees that involve medical education, funding for the continuum of medical education and physician workforce, including the Board of Directors of Florida’s Professionals Resource Network, Inc. and the UF Wilmot Botanical Gardens Consortium.