The University of Arkansas has announced a new chief executive officer for its Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, established on 188 acres at the former governor’s Petit Jean Mountain ranch as a conference and education center. The property was given to the university by the Winthrop Rockfeller Charitable Trust, which is also underwriting operating costs. It has had a spotty first few years in establishing an identity and a range of successful programs.

Christy Carpenter

  • Christy Carpenter

The new CEO is Christy Carpenter, a lawyer who has been chief operating officer of the Paley Center for Media in New York and Los Angeles.

The news release about the appointment says:

Under Carpenter’s direction the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute will expand its programs to encompass more subjects of national and international importance, bringing thought leaders from the U.S. and other nations together to tackle major issues.

“The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute is an extraordinary resource for thought leadership, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to head it at a time of tremendous national and international change, when fresh perspectives and multi-disciplinary collaboration is so urgently needed,” said Carpenter. “I look forward tremendously to working with the University of Arkansas and its leaders to draw upon the University’s intellectual talent as we shape a more dynamic and robust agenda for the Institute going forward.”

Thought leadership. There’s something of an Aspen Institute feel about the objective, I’d guess.

PS — The Institute has made some moves in this direction. The Oxford American, for example, has a summit for writers scheduled there this summer whose speakers include David Remnick.

PPS — Sharp-eyed Texan Betsey Wright guesses — and a Google search indicates she’s right — that Carpenter is daughter of Liz Carpenter, the former journalist and Lyndon B. Johnson aide who died last year. I’m going on bad memory here, but I think the Arkansas Gazette back in the long, long ago was one of the clients of the Washington, D.C. news service operated by Liz Carpenter and her husband Leslie.