Visit To WinRock – A Short Drive To A Breath Of Fresh Air

Sherry Guess, Staff Writer.   When a “free day” presents itself, my husband Gary and I are ready to go exploring the Natural State. Since moving here three years ago, we’ve taken every opportunity to find out more about what a wonderful home we have chosen here in Fairfield Bay and the wider area of the state of Arkansas. One Sunday after church, we took off to explore the area around Petit Jean State Park. We’d heard of “WinRock” but were not sure what that really meant. We received a wonderful education at the WinRock Property which had been donated to the University of Arkansas and is a 188 acre campus funded from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. Taking information from their official website is the best way to explain the vision of the Rockefeller family. I quote: ”By integrating the resources and expertise of a statewide university system with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive. The Rockefeller Institute offers a variety of workshops, seminars, public lectures, conferences and special events. Program areas include civic engagement, philanthropy and food security.” We spent about an hour and a half walking through the museum and learned so many interesting facts about Arkansas history and and much more about the man, Winthrop Rockefeller. His life story is incredible in itself, but landing him in Arkansas at all back in the early 50’s was truly remarkable. His contributions in the areas of economics and social policies helped to bring Arkansas into the business arena, encouraging racial equality before the federally mandated Civil Rights Act was passed. He was a champion of the underdog, and fought for equality in all areas of business , education and social avenues. He moved to Arkansas in 1953 and built his home and Winrock Farms on Petit Jean Mountain. Before becoming governor of Arkansas in 1967, Rockefeller served as Chairman of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission and in doing so, he became familiar with the state’s challenges and its opportunities. Although his intention was not to get into politics, he recognized the needs of the state and ran for governor four times – winning twice and losing twice. As governor, Rockefeller faced issues in the prison system as well as education and government reform. Look it up online at: www.livethelegacy.org or just google Winthrop Rockefeller and you’ll find it. It’s a good daytrip, trust me on that!

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