Over the last 30 years, Anne “Dede” Neal Petri has been a leader and innovator in a wide range of nonprofit organizations. She was the 42nd president of The Garden Club of America, a national nonprofit founded in 1913 with 201 clubs and more than 18,000 club members around the country. In 1995, she co-founded the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a non-profit dedicated to higher education, serving as president from 2003 – 2016. She is currently a Senior Fellow.
Ms. Neal Petri also served as General Counsel and Congressional Liaison for the National Endowment for the Humanities and worked as a First Amendment and communications lawyer. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in American history and literature and received her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
She has served on the boards of many cultural and civic organizations including Friends of the National Arboretum, U.S. Capitol Historical Society, Casey Trees, and the Paine Art Center and Gardens. She was president of All Hallows Guild, Washington National Cathedral, and chairman of its Garden Committee, spearheading the restoration of the Olmsted Woods. She currently serves as a member of the board of the Aldo Leopold Foundation and vice regent for Wisconsin of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.
She has authored or co-authored studies including Restoring the Olmsted Woods, Ecological Restoration Magazine, University of WI Arboretum (2003); Washington National Cathedral Gardens: A Guide for Families; Profiles, Handbook of American Women’s History (Sage Publications 2000); and Losing America’s Memory (ACTA, 2000). In 2017, Rowman & Littlefield published her book, What’s a Parent to Do? How to Help Your Child Select the Right College.