Wickliffe Rose, born in Saulsbury in 1862, became a leading administrator for the Rockefeller philanthropies. Rose earned degrees from the University of Nashville, the University of Mississippi, and Harvard. He began his career at Peabody College and the University of Nashville as professor of philosophy from 1892 to 1902 and returned as dean from 1904 to 1907.
Rose joined the South’s educational crusade in 1902 as a member of the Southern Education Board’s Bureau of Investigation and Information at the University of Tennessee. As general agent of the Peabody Fund, 1907-15, member of the Southern Education Board, 1910-15 and its executive secretary, 1909-13, trustee of the John F. Slater Fund, 1909-23, and member of the General Education Board, 1911-28, Rose helped to coordinate support for improved public education and teacher training for whites and African Americans in the southern states. Simultaneously, as executive secretary of the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission for the Eradication of Hookworm Disease from 1910 to 1915, Rose directed the largest public health crusade in the American South. Rose’s service earned him membership in the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913 and appointment as general director of the International Health Board (IHB), 1913-23. Under his leadership, the IHB funded research and public health campaigns around the world, most successfully against yellow fever.
From 1923 until his retirement in 1928, Rose served as president of the General Education Board. Rose also convinced John D. Rockefeller Jr. to create the International Education Board, which Rose headed from 1923 to 1928. A “rare combination of the scholar, investigator, philosopher, and administrator,” this Tennessean shaped philanthropic policies and programs at the regional, national, and international levels. (1)