You can’t accurately explain Arkansas’ history without discussing the legacy of governor and philanthropist Winthrop Rockefeller. Janet Harris, director of programs at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, aims to live out his legacy through the institute’s efforts. From the upcoming Art in its Natural State exhibit, to a medical research summit and more, host Natalie Ghidotti and Harris dive into how the Institute is working to bring people together to create a better Arkansas and beyond.
– Maeghen Carter, Ghidotti Communications
– We know you’re a huge “Game of Thrones” fan. Who do you think will end up on the throne?
If the Iron Throne continues as the seat for the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, ultimately, I think a Targaryen will end up there. But whether the Iron Throne endures and which Targaryen rules would be anyone’s guess!
– If you could vacation anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
I would visit Scotland first, then the rest of the U.K. Spain is a close second.
You’ve committed most of your career to public service, did you always know you wanted work in that space?
Yes, from my first experience as a page in the Arkansas House of Representatives, I have been fascinated with how government connects to the people it serves, how that relationship has to evolve to work effectively and how the public and non-profit sectors can serve as a force for positive change in the world.
– What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I am mostly an open book, not a lot of mystery. A couple of interesting bits of trivia: I share a birthday with my sister who is three years my junior, my elbows hyperextend in ways that freak people out and I have a very dry sense of humor.
– Why do you love working on “the mountains?”
Petit Jean Mountain is a beautiful, peaceful, pastoral setting in its own right, but the rich history of our campus, as Governor Rockefeller’s former homestead and cattle farm, is what makes it so special to me. I know that Gov. Rockefeller looked at the same magnificent views of the Arkansas River Valley that we can see from the Institute and that he was inspired by all of the possibilities he saw in Arkansas and in her people. I draw inspiration from that every day.
– If you could go back in time and ask Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller one thing, what would it be?
I would want to ask him what he thought about his Arkansas today – how far we’ve come and what he might see as the possibilities for our future. He was a builder and a visionary, and I would love to get his perspective on where we go next as a state and at the Institute.