Winthrop Rockefeller Institute
Planning for a Visionary Role in Arkansas’ Future
Having developed former Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s home and cattle farm on Petit Jean mountain into a state-of-the-art conference center, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (WRI) was eager to envision programming of equal quality that it might undertake to build on the site’s heritage. Before he died, the Governor had hosted more than 200 meetings at Winrock Farms to discuss the issues such as the state’s educational needs and ideas for rural economic development.

Winthrop Rockefeller Institute thus sought out WolfBrown to guide a planning process that would suggest how the resources of the University of Arkansas System, under whose auspices the Institute now functions, might be brought to bear in addressing state issues. WolfBrown consultants launched the process with a series of interviews to glean insights into those concerns and the University of Arkansas system’s resources; they then went on to facilitate and document a series of meetings of individuals representing a broad range of state organizations and concerns, university representatives, and board members.

Together, the meeting participants designed the role WRI will seek to play in moving the fruits of research into tangible action, focusing on leadership development, research-based innovation, and knowledge-based economic development. As the Governor himself did, the Institute will work on issues that are critical to Arkansas but that have demonstrable national and even international implications and applications, as well – bringing people to the “higher ground” of Petit Jean Mountain to find “common ground.”

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