Elena Matthews in her home garden

Elena Matthews Horticulture Scholarship

Scholarship Impact

The Elena Milaneschi Matthews Horticulture Scholarship Endowment provides support to undergraduate students majoring in Horticultural Science. Preference will be given to students concentrating in Landscape Design or Gardens & Urban Environments, or to students minoring in Ornamentals or Landscape Horticulture.

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About Elena Milaneschi Matthews

After medical school in her native Bologna, Italy, Elena trained in Virginia in Internal Medicine. At that time, she became fascinated with the healing process and the variability in how people handled illness. By the end of her residency, she had decided to continue her training by adding a second specialization in Psychiatry. It was also during those years — hiking on Virginia trails with her husband or digging new beds in her flower garden — that she discovered the healing power of a few hours spent in nature.

Elena continued to nurture this interest by becoming involved with the JC Raulston Arboretum and eventually pursuing and completing an Undergraduate Certificate in Horticulture with the NC State University Department of Horticultural Science. Her professors considered her the ideal student: enthusiastic, a veritable sponge for any and all information pertaining to plants, and a source of insightful questions and discussions—not to mention her delightful spirit, sharp sense of humor, and storytelling craft.

Elena had spent 20 years developing her home garden into a complex and layered garden that is a feast for the senses and a haven for wildlife. It was a place of solitude, peacefulness, and inspiration. When she became ill, the garden became even more important—a place for reflection, healing, and hope.

To honor her spirit and carry forward her goals, the Matthews Family established this scholarship to help those North Carolina State University students who are passionate about elevating and deepening the human spirit through landscape design, environmental stewardship, and gardening for therapeutic purposes. It is their hope that this will assist students who are interested in improving the lives of others through creatively-designed, environmentally sensitive, and meaningful gardens.

Alycia Thornton

Have Questions?

For additional information, please contact:

Alycia Thornton
Executive Director of Development
Horticultural Science Department & JC Raulston Arboretum
NC State University
Office: 919-513-7068
Email: alycia_thornton@ncsu.edu