Dr. Betsy Bennett joined CapDev in 2013 following her 2012 retirement, having led North Carolina's Museum of Natural Sciences to major expansion, record attendance and national recognition. Now the most visited museum in the state, the Museum of Natural Sciences opened its doors in 2000 after Dr. Bennett championed the fundraising for the $71 million main museum. A subsequent campaign for the museum's Nature Research Center raised $56 million for its 2012 opening.
Prior to serving as the museum's director, Dr. Bennett served as a consultant to the Triangle Children's Museum and was an educator/scientist at Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC. She also served as a school board member in Charlotte from 1978 to 1985 and prior to that taught high school and middle school science and math for more than 11 years.
In addition to her role as Director of the Museum of Natural Sciences, Dr. Bennett served as a board member on the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, the North Carolina Grassroots Science Museums Collaborative, the Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and the Grandfather Mountain Learning Lodge. Her past experiences in professional societies include: former commissioner of the Accreditation Commission of the American Association of Museums, past President of Association of Science Museum Directors and former board member of the American Association of Museums.
Dr. Bennett's academic training includes an undergraduate degree in Physics and Mathematics from Hollins University and a doctorate degree in science education from the University of Virginia. Her numerous awards include the Women in Business Award, Opening Doors Award, The John B. Ross Leadership Award and most notably the 2011 Tar Heel of the Year Award.
Dr. Bennett has been called "a force of nature" because joining forces and forming partnerships are trademarks of her management style. Dr. Bennett's legacy will be forever remembered with the glass skyway spanning Salisbury Street, connecting the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Nature Research Center so fittingly named the Betsy Bennett Bridge to Discovery.