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Rockefeller welcomes hundreds of visitors during Open House New York weekend

by Eva Kiesler, managing editor


Rockefeller is sometimes described as a scientific village within New York City. But for Upper East Side residents and other passersby who don’t work here, our campus may seem more like a secret garden, whose magnificent trees and deft architecture loom mysteriously behind tall gates.

On October 17, a sunny and brisk Saturday, the university’s Open House New York (OHNY) Weekend tours attracted close to 300 curious visitors, the highest turnout since Rockefeller began participating in the citywide program in 2012. OHNY coordinates tours of hundreds of architecturally and culturally significant spaces—many of which, like our campus, are not normally open to the public.

Volunteers from several labs and administrative offices led guided hour-long tours with stops in the Collaborative Research Center, Caspary Auditorium, the Peggy Rockefeller Plaza, and Welch Hall. The guides spoke about Rockefeller University’s mission and unique culture, emphasizing how our buildings and architecture have been purposefully designed to enable groundbreaking discovery.

Telling our story

The last stop of the tours offered a glimpse of what the campus will look like in the near future, with the construction of the new Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus. Stationed in Welch Hall, one of Rockefeller’s most striking landmark buildings, Chief of Staff and Vice President Tim O’Connor used a miniature model of the new campus to demonstrate how it will extend over the FDR drive, with new research buildings and a comprehensive renovation and enhancement of the East River Esplanade, between 64th and 68th Streets.

“We connected with hundreds of people, the vast majority of whom had never been on campus before,” Dr. O’Connor says. “The event is an opportunity to engage with our neighbors, to tell our story one-on-one to members of the community, and to help promote bioscience in the city.”

How well do you know your campus architecture? Find out by taking the above slideshow quiz, which includes pictures from the OHNY event. If you are interested in volunteering as a tour guide next fall, let us know at