Since 1928 when the Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture was established, The Garden Club of America has funded more than 1,300 scholars. The GCA offers 27 merit-based scholarships in 12 areas.
Twelve of the scholarships are managed by GCA staff and volunteers. We contact universities, arboreta and botanic gardens to encourage them to advertise these scholarships to their students and interns. Selection committees comprised of the GCA and community volunteers read applications and propose outstanding scholars to be voted on in March each year. For fifteen of our scholarships, the specialized level of knowledge necessary to choose the most compelling research projects requires that we partner with the following outside organizations:
A) American Public Gardens Association (APGA)-The Garden Club of America Hope
B) Goddard Iselin Fellowship in Public Horticulture
C) Center for Plant Conservation (CPC)-The Catherine H. Beattie Fellowship in Conservation Horticulture
D) College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), Center for Coastal Resources Management-The GCA Award in Coastal Wetlands Studies
E) Cornell University, Cornell Lab of Ornithology-The Frances M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat
F) Desert Botanical Garden-The GCA Award in Desert Studies
G) Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF), Leadership in Landscape Scholarship Program-The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design
H) Missouri Botanical Garden, William L. Brown Center-The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany
I) Pollinator Partnership (P2)-The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship
J) Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)-Garden Club of America/Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowship
K) Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Gardens, Archives of American Gardens (AAG)-The GCA Internship in Garden History and Design
L) Student Conservation Association (SCA)-The Sara Shallenberger Brown GCA National Parks Conservation Scholarship
M) University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum-The GCA Fellowship in Ecological Restoration
N) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation-The GCA Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry
O) World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Education for Nature Program-The GCA Awards in Tropical Botany
Each organization sets up a panel of scientists to select candidates in areas such as ecological restoration, desert studies, coastal wetland studies, urban forestry, and landscape architecture. In addition to scholarship funds actively managed by the GCA, the American Academy in Rome uses funding endowed in the past by GCA members for the recipient of GCA’s Rome Prize Fellowship in Landscape Architecture. The GCA was pleased to announce the new The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship and The Garden Club of America Hope Goddard Iselin Fellowship in Public Horticulture.
In 2015, 91 scholars were awarded over $315,000 to support a variety of academic endeavors ranging from summer environmental study and field work, to graduate level research. Their study will take place in institutions across the nation and some will conduct field work across the globe.
GCA Scholars go on to be leaders in their fields. Recently, a selection panel member reviewed a list of past recipients of the GCA awards in Tropical Botany, which were first awarded in the 1980s. These scholars are now well established in their careers. The selection panel member commented that the names appearing on the list are a “veritable who’s who” of the Systematics and Forest Ecology fields today. The Garden Club of America is deservedly proud of its scholarship program.