- The International Rice Research Institute, the first of what will become a system of 16 international agricultural centers, is established in the Philippines.
- Support to a consortium of university presses underwrites the cost of translating into English notable Latin American writers, including Carlos Fuentes, Jorge Luis Borges and Octavio Paz.
- J. George Harrar becomes president of the Rockefeller Foundation and serves until 1972.
- The Foundation makes a $250,000 grant to the Southern Regional Council “because of the special urgency of problems in race relations in the United States.”
- The Foundation launches its 20-year University Development (later Education for Development) program, designed to create new leadership in developing countries by aiding a few selected universities. The $125 million program emphasizes departments of agriculture, public health, medicine and social sciences. Universities are aided in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Indonesia, Nigeria, Sudan, Thailand, the Philippines and Zaire. The total Foundation commitment comes to $550 million in current dollars.
- Grants eventually totaling $85.5 million are made to: (1) recruit black students for college, including a program to enable leading private Southern universities to recruit black students for the first time in their history; (2) improve the quality of education at several black colleges; and (3) mount summer programs at Princeton, Dartmouth and Oberlin to enlarge the pool of well-prepared black college candidates.
- Now in its 50th year, the Foundation reorganizes its programs under five headings: Conquest of Hunger; Population and Health; Education for Development; Equal Opportunity; and Arts, Humanities and Cultural Values.
- A seven-year, Foundation-administered creative writing project assists authors Ralph Ellison, Philip Roth, Rosalyn Drexler and others.
- The Foundation grants $3.5 million to strengthen three black colleges: Fisk University for across-the-board development, Atlanta University for library and faculty development, and the Tuskegee Institute for academic development.
- The Foundation supports novice playwright Sam Shepard with a $5,500 grant allowing him to write full time. At that point, only one of his plays had been produced. That grant was followed by $6,800 two years later, allowing him to write and visit drama centers in Europe.
- The Foundation initiates support for an economic demography program in Mexico that by 1974 leads to official government policy to reduce population growth. Support to other Latin American countries follows.
- The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is established with Rockefeller support in Mexico, a focal point for the growing international effort to improve basic food crops in the developing world.
- The Foundation supports new dance companies (Eliot Feld Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Agnes de Mille Dance Theater) and experimental theaters (Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, La Mama Experimental Theater and the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater).
- The Foundation gives a pioneering grant to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund to expand beyond litigation and develop a division that supports the basic rights of the poor and victims of discrimination.
- The Foundation begins funding the work of experimental composer Nam June Paik with a $550 grant to cover basic living expenses and the cost of art materials. At the time, Paik is experimenting with new forms combining video, music and performance work that plays a leading role in the emerging field of video art.
- Family planning units for university research and teaching are established at Baylor University, Cornell University, the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina, Case Western Reserve University, Tulane University and the University of Washington in the US, and abroad at the University of Chile, the Universidad del Valle in Colombia, and Hacettepe University in Turkey.
- A shift in direction of the Equal Opportunity program leads to Foundation support of projects dealing with problems in the inner city—studies on the nature and causes of urban ghettos; the training of minority leaders and the improvement of elementary and secondary schools through the training of black educators to be principals and superintendents.