Without question, one of the less mentioned benefits to working at the Institute is its pastoral setting and scenic views. It is a place where self-reflection, relaxation, and challenging work converge to form the magic of our Petit Jean Mountain getaway. The view of the Arkansas River Valley from our Studio outlook is a favorite of guests and staff alike, and just one of the stops we make on our Walks with the Governor workshop.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that it was that specific view that convinced Winthrop Rockefeller to move from New York to Arkansas. In 1953, an old Army buddy of Winthrop’s, Frank Newell of Little Rock, invited him to visit our state. Standing atop Petit Jean Mountain, Winthrop fell in love with its natural beauty and moved here that same year.

He called the day he arrived in Arkansas “the beginning of a new life” for him, and said that “the real sunrise of my dream came when I moved up to my mountaintop.”

Winthrop Rockefeller near his home on Petit Jean Mountain, looking out over the Arkansas River Valley.

That is just one of the stories that participants will learn in our Walks with the Governor workshop, a leadership training that uses lessons drawn from the life and legacy of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. When delivered on the Institute campus, guests travel to different locations on the Governor’s former homestead and learn about the history of this space. This workshop is designed to encourage deep personal reflection and team building through candid conversation, and leads participants to carry forward Gov. Rockefeller’s approach to changing the world through collaboration. 

The Walks with the Governor workshop can be enjoyed on its own, or as part of our Winthrop Rockefeller Retreat package. The year has been difficult to navigate for teams all over Arkansas. Our retreat package is an opportunity to get away together to foster connection and team building, or to just dig in to get some work done. The Winthrop Rockefeller Retreat includes an overnight stay in the Orchard, a self-contained lodging facility with ten private bedrooms and baths, connected to a common living area and fully equipped kitchen. A charming screened porch and courtyard provide plenty of space to enjoy a quiet evening dinner or early morning coffee. 

Our campus offers an unmatched, productive setting for groups of all sizes to do their best work. At its heart, the Institute is a place where people can come together to do their best thinking and learning in a way that encourages all voices to contribute in search of solutions to tough issues, just like Winthrop Rockefeller did.

Winthrop Rockefeller came to a mountain, this mountain, and changed the world around him.

We invite you to do the same.

Heather Southard

Programs Coordinatorhsouthard@uawri.org(501) 727-6265

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.