Volunteer Profile: Susan Witter

About Susan Witter

Susan Witter joined the Board relatively recently, in April 2019, but she has known both the Garden and the Conservatory literally forever. “I attended the opening of the VanDusen with my mother and grandmother — my grandmother was a great friend of Alma VanDusen — and I was also at the Bloedel opening. My parents [Dr. George and Kathleen Elliot] were avid VanDusen volunteers right from 1975 until the early 90s, especially for Plant Sales, and I and my own family have always been regular visitors as well.” 

So joining the Board made perfect sense, and the idea arose at the perfect time: Susan had stepped down from her 16-year role as president of Douglas College by then, and also from a major Board commitment elsewhere. She talks about the diverse skills that people bring to the Board, and explains, “Each member is active on several committees. I chair our Bloedel Committee, and I am a member of our Governance Committee as well.”  

COVID has brought this Board and the organization it serves into uncharted territory. Susan notes the challenges, such as decreased revenue, but also areas of strength. While we can’t run plant or soil sales at the moment, we can run summer camps, and participation in adult-ed programs has in fact risen since moving online. Our strong volunteer base is another great strength — as is the enduring attraction of both Conservatory and Garden. “I see something new every time I visit.” 

Written by Penny Williams, Volunteer Writer