A portrait commissioned by the Society’s Council to mark the retirement of Dr Rita Gardner after almost 22 years as Director has been unveiled. The portrait, by Alastair Adams, a former President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, recognises Rita’s leadership and innovation in the development of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).
The Society’s President, Nicholas Crane said: “Rita has been an inspirational leader of the Society over the last two decades and I would like to thank her for all her work in developing the Society and raising the profile of geography during this time. She leaves behind a world-leading, innovative and welcoming organisation that is an influential and effective advocate for the discipline.”
Rita has been a Fellow of the Society for over 40 years. Before becoming the first female Director in its 188-year history, she was the first woman Honorary Secretary, instrumental in the merger of the RGS and the IBG, co-led the Society’s Nepal Field Research Programme, set up the regional programme, and was Editor of the Geographical Journal.
Rita said: “It has been a real pleasure, an honour and a challenge to be the Director at this important period in the evolution of the Society; and I thank warmly the many loyal and expert staff, trustees, donors and Fellows with whom I have shared this journey and for whom the Society and geography really matters.”
The portrait will hang in the Exhibition Road reception area from the end of May.
The Society thanks the generosity of the donor who made the portrait possible.
Dr Rita Gardner, by Alastair Adams
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