David Rockefeller, University of Chicago graduate, trustee and philanthropist, dies at 101

David Rockefeller signs a copy of his book “Memoirs” during a 2002 University of Chicago visit and lecture at International House. -Jason Smith

Staff Writer

David Rockefeller, alumnus, trustee, benefactor and grandson of the University of Chicago founder John D. Rockefeller, died on March 20, at the age of 101.

Rockefeller was associated with the University of Chicago (U. of C.) throughout his life. Born to one of the wealthiest families in America, his involvement with the institution his grandfather founded started early, accompanying James Henry Breasted, founder of the Oriental Institute, (which his father helped fund and establish), on a trip through Egypt and the Middle East in 1929. After graduating from Harvard and attending the London School of Economics for a year, he came to the U. of C. to study economics in the Ph.D. program. The University of Chicago Press published his doctoral dissertation, “Unused Resources and Economic Waste,” in 1941.

Throughout his life he remained connected with the university, serving as a trustee for seven decades, first serving in 1947 through 1963 before becoming an honorary trustee in 1966 and a life trustee in 2007. According to former University President Hanna Gray, he spoke often of the time he spent at the U. of C. and the excellence of the faculty he studied under there.

Rockefeller went on to serve in the U. S. Army during the Second World War, went on to work for Chase National Bank and its successor Chase Manhattan Bank and to live a life of service and philanthropy contributing to many museums and other causes. He endowed a Chair in Economics at the U. of C., the David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and Statistics.

“David Rockefeller shared with his grandfather and his father a deep conviction about the profound responsibilities that the great American universities bear in enhancing the intellectual creativity and cultural progress of American civic life,” John W. Boyer, dean of the College at the U. of C., said in a written statement.

He is survived by five of his children and preceded in death by his wife Margaret “Peggy” McGrath and one son, Richard.