The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

The McSpadden Legacy at Rocky

Peter McSpadden

Peter Ford McSpadden' 52, former Rockefeller Center Board of Visitors Chair, died on March 13, 2016 at the age of 85. (Photo courtesy of the RMA)

Peter McSpadden

Peter and Barbara McSpadden resided in Riverside, CT for 55 years and were active on the Connecticut political scene. (Photo courtesy of the Riverside Yacht Club)

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The letters have been arriving at the end of each term for close to five decades now. The stories are individual, but the sentiment is always the same. One of thanks. One of transformation.

Dear Mr. McSpadden, I am so grateful that I was able to spend the summer learning and furthering my future career at a place with so many inspirational people doing important work... ~Ryan Shelley ’15

Dear Mr. McSpadden, This summer, thanks to your support, my knowledge of policy structure, purpose and development has been greatly boosted through my internship experience… ~Bridget Golob ’14.

Dear Mr. McSpadden, I am writing to thank you for your generosity in funding my internship. By doing so, you have taken an active role in helping me take advantage of this truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity… ~Ben Gettinger ’11.

Dear Mr. McSpadden, Thank you for making possible an internship opportunity that not only furthered my academic goals and career aspirations, but was also incredibly intellectually stimulating… ~Natalie Young’10.

Dear Mr. McSpadden, I could not have done this internship without your help. Though we may never meet, I hope you know what a wonderful thing it is that you have done... ~Sam Welch ’10…. 

While the spring is typically a time of renewal, this year it has brought with it a time of loss and remembrance at the Rockefeller Center. Mr. Peter McSpadden, Class of 1952, a great friend and supporter of the Center’s mission, passed away on March 13, 2016.

Peter was interested in students and their plans, and in particular he believed that experiential learning could transform a student’s academic experience and professional career to follow. Through his generosity, and that of his family, hundreds of students benefited from his annual gifts to the Center as well as the McSpadden Public Affairs Internship Endowment Fund and the McSpadden Policy Studies Endowment Fund, which started in the early 1970s.

Generous financially, Peter also supported the Center with his time and served on the Rockefeller Center's Board of Visitors from 1989 to 1997. “I admired his skill at working with people and drew energy from his strong sense of purpose for the Center's mission of promoting public service and understanding of public policy,” says Linda Fowler, Professor of Government and Frank J. Reagan Chair in Policy Studies, Emerita, who began her tenure as director of the Rockefeller Center in 1995. “He was both a pragmatist and a visionary and proved to be a valuable counselor as I learned my way around Dartmouth and developed long range plans for the Center.”

The Peter McSpadden legacy at the Rockefeller Center is a personal one. By making transformative experiences possible for Dartmouth students during some of their most formative years, his legacy is one that touches the future as well.

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