Although it is for his leadership of the state that Gov. Rockefeller is best remembered, he first came to Arkansas not to govern but to farm. Situated on part of the original Winrock Farms property, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute carries forward Gov. Rockefeller's important work as an agricultural innovator. The Institute brings together agriculture experts, scholars and practitioners to advance and share ideas and practices that can help sustain a rapidly growing and changing world through the coming century.
It was Gov. Rockefeller’s mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, who first spawned his love for and commitment to the arts. Gov. Rockefeller’s wife, Jeannette Edris Rockefeller — whose work and philanthropy made the long-dreamed-of Arkansas Arts Center a reality — shared that passion, and promoting the arts was of central importance to the Arkansas Rockefellers. It remains so for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, which nurtures the arts and humanities through instructional workshops, provides a venue for Arkansas' underserved rural population to appreciate visual and performing arts, and convenes gatherings to address key issues facing the arts community.
Perhaps Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller captured it best when he said, “Every citizen has the duty to be informed, to be thoughtfully concerned, and to participate in the search for solutions.” Through our innovative programs in the area of civic engagement, we explore and support all forms of civic participation, from creating and sustaining an informed electorate to building stronger communities by encouraging positive community involvement. By empowering Arkansas’ people to actively engage in responsible citizenhood, we can help make Arkansas a better place for all Arkansans.
When he arrived in Arkansas in 1953, Gov. Rockefeller found a state mired in what Time magazine described as a "dead-end economic and political condition." Named the first chair of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, Rockefeller convened members of the AIDC, along with a number of experts, at his farm atop Petit Jean Mountain to iron out a roadmap to economic development success. The result was 600 new industries, 90,000 new jobs and $240 million in new salaries. In the 21st century global economy, though, our state and region must again creatively adapt in order to survive and thrive. As a key catalyst in that process, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute convenes government, business and other leaders to tackle the challenges Arkansas faces and advance the solutions that will drive us forward.
Continuing the Rockefeller family tradition of support for scientific research, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute plays an active role in advancing both clinical medicine and public health, not only offering educational health retreats and workshops for the public, but also partnering with leading researchers and institutions to convene conferences that further understanding, disseminate knowledge and propose solutions in a variety of areas — ranging from Arkansas' public health issues to the use of nanotechnology in health care.