Winthrop Rockefeller moved to Arkansas and began a new phase of his life in 1953. Here he found the freedom to carve out a personal space to address the issues of what was once the poorest state in the union.
In the 20 years he lived on Petit Jean Mountain, Governor Rockefeller hosted more than 200 conferences and meetings. These conclaves addressed an astonishing range of concerns – from educational needs and rural economic development, to how to clean up Arkansas’ political system and harmonize the races. Many of these conferences, attended by state and national leaders, hammered out solutions for Arkansas’ most difficult crises.
Rockefeller addressed issues such as water quality, rural economic development and education. He explored how to build Arkansas and improve race relations. He also held training for farmers. Rockefeller’s conferences provided a necessary spark to improve public and private sector policymaking.
Winthrop Rockefeller Institute's 188-acre campus located on Petit Jean was once part of the home and cattle farm of Governor Rockefeller, giving it a remarkably distinguished heritage on which to build. Rockefeller’s legacy continues to shape events at the Rockefeller Institute. His life and influence is prominently displayed in our historical gallery and can be viewed in our interactive theater. Our educational programs are designed to combine his legacy and ideas with the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System.