The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute is proud to announce that Barry and Phyllis McKuin of Morrilton have made a gift in honor of Barry’s brother, Bob McKuin, who joined the Institute’s board of directors in August 2021

The McKuin family has a long history with not only the Institute, but with the organizations and cattle ranch that previously existed where the Institute’s campus is located today atop Petit Jean Mountain. After Gov. Rockefeller passed away in 1973, his estate took over Winrock Farms and hired Barry McKuin as its first Chief Financial Officer. Barry would go on to work with Winrock Farms and with Winthrop Paul, Winthrop’s son and former Lt. Governor of Arkansas.

Bob McKuin

Board Member

Bob McKuin’s business experience includes over 35 years in operations, engineering, and software development leadership positions with communications companies, including 25 years with AT&T. He retired in 2000 after 10 years with Alltel but was quickly recruited to serve as chief operations officer and then CEO of an early-stage technology company in southern California.

Originally from Morrilton and currently residing in Little Rock, Bob McKuin was employed by Winrock Farms for two summers while attending the University of Arkansas on a Winthrop Rockefeller Scholarship. He personally spent time with Gov. Rockefeller and his family, and the Institute is honored to have his unique history and perspective on the board of directors. 

An additional Rockefeller connection for Bob is his association with Bruce Bartley, stepson of Gov. Rockefeller. Bruce joined Bob’s Morrilton High School class as a sophomore in 1956, graduating with their Class of 1959. Those high school years meant a connection with life on Petit Jean Mountain for Bob and others, and began a lifelong friendship between Bruce and Bob that continues to today.

The McKuins’ gift, made using appreciated stock, will go specifically to program development, which will increase the number of programs the Institute can convene to tackle issues important to Arkansans and our region. Previous programs have focused on rural workforce development and rural health care access, and current programs are focused on community and economic development, health equity, K-12 education, encouraging civic engagement and dialogue, and lowering Arkansas’s recidivism rate.

“Each program we put together requires hundreds of hours of research and planning,” said James Hopper, director of development and programs. “From identifying and inviting the stakeholders we need to participate to carefully designing each gathering to reach purposeful outcomes, program development is vital to our ability to deliver on our mission of continuing Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller’s collaborative approach to creating transformational change. We are deeply grateful for the McKuins’ financial and personal support for this work.”

Barry McKuin served as an Institute board member from 2005 to 2020 and has remained a strong advocate for the organization since his board retirement.  Both Barry, who served as an Institute board member from 2005 to 2020, and Phyllis have been extremely supportive of programs and program development throughout their involvement with the Institute, with a special heart for programming that increases social and economic opportunity in rural communities. 


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    Betty LaGrone on December 13, 2021

    Barry & Phyllis: You both look great! It is good to “see” you.

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