Rhodes alumna Jennifer Andrews has been named the new executive director of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, which is transforming 4,500-acre Shelby Farms Park into America’s great 21st century urban park, according to the organization’s press release.
After graduating from Rhodes in 2006 with a B.A. in English, Andrews was hired as the first employee of the Conservancy - then called Shelby Farms Park Alliance – and rose to become director of development and communications, developing the Park’s brand and leading the organization’s $70 million capital campaign.
“Shelby Farms Park is a world-class park and deserves a world-class executive director,” says Tom Grimes, chairman of the Conservancy board of directors. “We are very pleased that the best candidate turned out to be the park’s own Jen Andrews. Her knowledge of the park is unrivaled, and her thoughtful, inclusive, and transparent leadership style is well-suited to lead Shelby Farms Park as the country’s next great urban park.”
“I look forward to watching her make the park her own,” adds Laura Wolff Morris, who announced her retirement as executive director in October. “She is exceptionally bright, a master communicator, fearless, always hungry to learn, and one of the best development professionals I’ve ever seen. She’s a gifted orchestrator, which is exactly what this project needs now.”
The Conservancy’s $52 million “Heart of the Park” project will open in late summer or early autumn. Its centerpiece is Patriot Lake, which has been expanded from 52 to 80 acres and has been made environmentally sustainable. The Conservancy previously opened the Shelby Farms Greenline, 6.5 mile urban trail connecting Shelby Farms Park to Midtown Memphis; the Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge, and the Woodland Discovery Playground. The Greenline is set to expand eastward with an additional 4 miles opening in early summer.
“Shelby Farms Park is special, and it has the potential to lift our entire community by being a reflection of the diversity that makes Memphis unique and beautiful,” says Andrews.