At the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, our mission is to combine collaborative problem solving, respectful dialogue, and diversity of opinion to create positive change and lasting impact. This is known as the Rockefeller Ethic. Our employees serve the Institute’s mission by embodying these five Core Values in their day-to-day work:

  • Believe the mission.
  • See the possibilities.
  • Focus on we, not me.
  • Do the right thing.
  • Have fun!

Each quarter, employees nominate their coworkers for Core Value Awards. Out of those who win an Award, senior leadership chooses one each year for the Legacy Award — a title given to an employee who is believed to have best lived out the five Core Values and the Rockefeller Ethic over the last fiscal year. For 2022, that employee is Linda Pitts.

Linda Pitts worked on this mountaintop for over 40 years, beginning when she worked as a housekeeper for Winrock International in 1982. The entire Institute staff held a retirement party for Linda just last month, and her last day was both our annual employee picnic, and the day she received the 2022 Legacy Award.

“I’m very honored, surprised, and shocked,” she said a few days later. She was officially retired, enjoying time at home with her family and new granddaughter. She joked that it still only felt like she was taking “a few days off.”

“I try not to be too critical of myself, so I’ll just say I loved my job,” Linda said. “I can do it without thinking about it. I can go into any room and know exactly what it needs and if anything is out of place. It honestly feels like I’m still there.”

Linda has received multiple Core Value Awards over the years, including our latest one for “Do the Right Thing.” Each nomination is unique, though there’s a clear theme.

“Ms. Linda is always there for me.”

“She brightens my day when we work together.”

“She will go out of her way to make everyone happy.”

“She made me want to be a better person.”

“She took care of our guests, but she also took care of us.”

“Linda Pitts is this year’s Legacy Award winner not only because of her commitment to our Core Values and the Rockefeller Ethic but also because of her commitment to instilling those values in others,” Janet Harris said. “We were excited to bestow this award on her last day at the Institute as she embarks on a new and well-earned phase of life. We will miss you, Linda, but your legacy here will live on.”

Linda said that working for Winrock International in the 1980s was a lot like working for the Institute. Like us, Winrock International was invested in creating mission-aligned programming. She remembers working on several programs that brought farmers worldwide together to learn new agricultural techniques.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes since then, and I love the direction that the Institute is going in now,” Linda said. “I think that’s what the late governor would have liked to see. We’re helping people do a lot of good work in Arkansas. I know the Institute has been busy, and I hope it stays that way. The good people here deserve it.”


  1. 1
    Toi Logan on June 23, 2023

    I always enjoyed running into Miss Linda when we were at Uncommon Communities.
    She always had a bright smile and a good hug.
    She is such a kind and sweet lady.

  2. 2
    Betty Brixey on June 27, 2023

    Congratulations Linda. I know of no other deserving this honor.

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