John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Class of ’29, was one of America’s leading philanthropists. Among his many fields of interest were the advancement of scientific understanding of overpopulation, the improvement of cultural relations between Asia and America, and a broader exposure for the performing arts in American life.
In 1952, Mr. Rockefeller began his lifelong search for solutions to population growth by founding the Population Council. In 1956, he established The Asia Society, which helped broaden America’s understanding of Asia’s heritage and contemporary developments. He was also a founder of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and served as its first president, beginning in 1956, and then as chairman from 1961 until 1970. For more than thirty years, Mr. Rockefeller was a trustee of Princeton, and he was a trustee emeritus at the time of his death in 1978. He set up the Rockefeller Public Service Awards in 1952, administered as a national trust by Princeton University, to recognize individual public service at the local, state, and national levels, often in areas that were neglected or controversial.
In dedicating the college on October 16, 1983, President William G. Bowen noted that “Rockefeller College will serve as a fitting tribute to a man who cared all of his life about the restoration of historical buildings, the landscaping of open spaces, and most importantly of all, the lives of young people and the enrichment of the human spirit.”