Lombardini Plants Roots as Head of Horticulture

Plant physiologist Leo Lombardini joined the University of Georgia as head of the Department of Horticulture on Sept. 1.

Lombardini, who will lead the department in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, comes to UGA from Texas A&M University, where he served on the faculty for the past 17 years. Most recently he was a professor of horticulture and director of the Center for Coffee Research and Education at the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture.

“When the opportunity came up to continue my career at UGA, an institution which is known worldwide for its excellence in research, education and extension programs, as well as its traditions, I knew I could not pass,” Lombardini said. “And now I can say that I could not be prouder to join this prestigious department and university.”

Looking ahead, he sees the next few years as a time of great change for the CAES Department of Horticulture as key tenured faculty members retire. 

“It will be challenging to replace so many outstanding scholars, colleagues and friends, but it will be important to take advantage of those opportunities to invest in the next generation of horticulturists who will form the foundation of the department’s future,” Lombardini said. “Though we might have new faces in the future, I can assure you that our commitment to excellence, research and teaching will not change.”

He plans to spend the upcoming months traveling the state to learn more about Georgia’s horticulture industry and discuss ways to develop new and strengthen existing partnerships with industry leaders.

A native of Italy, he received a laurea degree (equivalent to a bachelor’s and master’s degree) in forestry from the University of Florence in Firenze, Italy, and a doctorate in horticulture from Michigan State University. 

By Sharon Dowdy Cruse

Leo Lombardini