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November 29, 1992

Blanchette Ferry Hooker Rockefeller ’31 died of Alzheimer’s disease complicated by pneumonia at the age of 83. Rockefeller graduated with a degree in music, and she served on the board of trustees between 1948 and 1956. The daughter and niece of the two donors of the Alumnae House, sister of the donor of Ferry House, mother of a Vassar student and married to the grandson of one of Vassar’s greatest benefactors since the Founder, John D. Rockefeller, she held the college highly among many philanthropic interests. Among her gifts to the college were the funds for the removal in 1959 of the Frederic Ferris Thompson Annex (“Uncle Fred’s Nose”) from the front of Main Building and the restoration of the original façade, an extraordinary collection of Asian art, another of modern art that included works by Rothko, Klee, Miro and Matisse and funds for the construction of Cesar Pelli’s entrance pavilion to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

At the time of her death, The New York Times said, “For four decades, Mrs. Rockefeller was a regal presence in philanthropy, helping to attract financial support and volunteers for causes ranging from children’s welfare to the Julliard School. But it was for the Museum of Modern Art that was her predominant interest. She twice served as its president, although she insisted she had no curatorial expertise. ‘I’m not an expert on modern art,’ she once said, ‘just a person who has become interested.”

The Years