The Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust (WRCT) has gifted $2.25 million to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture to preserve and educate the public about the history of Arkansas, including the notable contributions of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller.
The gift, announced Sept. 10 at UA Little Rock Downtown, will create the Winthrop Rockefeller Archival Fund, a quasi-endowment. It is the sixth-largest cash gift in UA Little Rock’s history. Funds will be used to preserve, house, and catalog historical items of their collections and to support activities related to the Center’s mission.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust donated the Rockefeller Collection to the center in 1980, which was instrumental in establishing UA Little Rock’s archives program. Marion Burton, executive trustee of the WRCT stated, “The Charitable Trust and the UA Little Rock [CAHC] have been good partners in bringing the Arkansas story to the community. The Charitable Trust recognizes the strengths and reputation of the Center for Arkansas History and Culture and is pleased to make this further commitment to their work.”
Dr. Deborah Baldwin, director of the CAHC and associate provost for collections and archives, said plans for the Center include increasing its archives to include collections of underrepresented groups that will complement its collection of records related to state leaders. The Center will also increase efforts to digitize collections housed in the archive, making this historic information more accessible to the public.
“Our archival collections can become a more complete reflection of the state’s people and organizations,” Baldwin said. “Scholars can better explore the ‘why’ questions of history with more complete information. This gift will make a difference. Positive change is a hallmark of Winthrop Rockefeller’s work. Behind all of these initiatives is our goal to inspire people to engage with Arkansas history and the future it maps for us.”
Additionally, the Center will offer more educational opportunities for students by granting awards to conduct research and providing experiential learning opportunities. The gift will allow the center to create educational activities, research initiatives, and events associated with the Rockefeller Collection and other collections housed in the Center.
“I want to thank Will Rockefeller and his family for their support for the Center for Arkansas History and Culture and the state,” said Baldwin. “We hope that the family will continue to see the center as the place to secure the Arkansas Rockefeller legacy. We are pleased that the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust has confidence in our vision and execution of the work.”
The Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust was created by Gov. Rockefeller in 1972 to support charitable organizations. Rockefeller moved to Arkansas in 1953 where he established Winrock Enterprises and Winrock Farms, chaired the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, and initiated many philanthropic projects. Rockefeller’s progressive and philanthropic vision is reflected in the papers he left behind and remains alive through the work of organizations he founded and inspired.
This post is a modified version of the official UALR Press Release by Angita Faller.