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In Memoriam: Mimi Prentice


Mimi Prentice with ISI president Chris Long at ISI’s ninth annual Dinner for Western Civilization, October 23, 2014 


ISI mourns the loss of Mrs. Spelman Prentice, who passed away over the weekend. A longtime friend of ISI, Mimi Prentice provided invaluable advice and enthusiastic support for the mission of “educating for liberty.”

Mimi began supporting ISI in 2000, after the death of her beloved husband, Spelman, a successful businessman and the grandson of John D. Rockefeller. While cleaning out Spelman’s study, she came across ISI journals, books, and other materials that she remembered him reading and enjoying. As a result, she encouraged his friends and family members to make donations to ISI in his memory, and she became familiar with ISI’s work herself.

She took a special liking to the Honors Program, ISI’s premier leadership development program for undergraduates. This yearlong program, which begins with a rigorous weeklong intellectual retreat, puts the best students together with top professors for an immersive education in the Western tradition and the foundations of American liberty.

Over the next decade and a half, Mimi sponsored dozens of outstanding college students for the Honors Program. She enjoyed meeting and spending time with those she always called “my students.” She once traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to attend one of the program’s weeklong summer schools. At ISI’s ninth annual Dinner for Western Civilization, held last month in New York, she beamed with excitement as she sat chatting with three Honors Program alumni whom she had supported (see photo below). In recent years she was the number-one supporter of the program, sponsoring twenty Prentice Scholars annually. Through this generous support, she made a profound impact not only on the students themselves but also on American society, for the Prentice Scholars will serve as principled leaders for decades to come.


Mimi was a faithful supporter of The Heritage Foundation and other conservative causes, and she was grateful for the American way of life. From her early years in Chicago, where she began working in the entertainment industry at a young age, to her marriage into one of the country’s leading industrial families, she held fast to her midwestern values of hard work, individual responsibility, and belief in America’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Requiescat in pace.


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