William E. Mifflin: Ambler never left him and he never left Ambler
William E. Mifflin, ’66, ’68, ’86, came to Temple University Ambler after “growing up in Northeast Philadelphia with an extended family on a ‘farmette’ that included greenhouses and a small nursery.”
“My interest in horticulture began at an early age. Looking back, it was a fabulous experience,” said Mifflin, Chief Executive Office of Philadelphia Hospitality and former Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Commission from 1988 to 2002. “The program was strong academically, but the experience was also practical; you learned the basics of planting, arboriculture, and horticulture — you got your hands dirty. I clearly recall spending time weeding in the gardens.”
Mifflin’s continued dedication to Temple, and to Temple University Ambler in particular has never wavered. A member of the Ambler Campus Board of Visitors since 2003, the flurry of numbers after his name — Associate Degree in Ornamental Horticulture in 1964; Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management in 1968; Masters of Education in Recreation Administration in 1986 (all from Temple) clearly shows that, while he may no longer be attending classes at Ambler, “I never really left.”
“When I graduated with my degree in from Temple Ambler, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I’d ever be Director of Fairmount Park,” he said. “With its good ratio of staff to students and the excellent practical knowledge the program offers, Temple’s program provides a solid foundation for any student to pursue their goals.”
During his tenure as Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Commission, Mifflin’s goal was to “protect and enhance the open space parkland in Philadelphia.” During his administration, Philadelphia parkland acreage grew by 10 percent (there is now 9,200 acres). He also helped to establish 80 friends and support groups for the park and two non-profit organizations, the Fairmount Park Trust, which assists with historic property management, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy.
Mifflin became Chief Executive Office of Philadelphia Hospitality in July 2007. The non-profit organization’s mission is to “promote the Greater Philadelphia area as a world class destination,” offering “specially tailored, innovative itineraries and unique tourism experiences for discerning groups and individuals,” he said.
A Philadelphia native, Mifflin currently serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council, the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, and other boards in addition to the campus Board of Visitors.
“I think the future of Ambler, and the School of Environmental Design in particular, will remain firmly rooted in its original mission of teaching horticulture and landscape architecture. The addition of Community and Regional Planning and the continued work of the Center for Sustainable Communities (temple.edu/ambler/csc) greatly compliments an overall mission of sustainability,” he said. “I think Ambler is more relevant now to the University and the community as a whole than it ever has been.”