Ferré, Luis Antonio

Ferré, Luis Antonio

(1904–  ) industrialist, politician, patron of the arts; born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. After making his fortune in the family-owned cement and iron works, he bought the newspaper El Nuevo Día (1944) and founded the Ponce Museum of Art (1958). He participated in the constitutional committee that made Puerto Rico a commonwealth in 1952, then served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1953–56). He spearheaded the statehood campaign in the 1967 plebiscite and founded the New Progressive Party in 1967. After several previous unsuccessful attempts, he was elected governor and served from 1968–72. A lifelong worker for statehood and the GOP, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President George Bush in 1991. In 1993 the San Juan Center for the Performing Arts was renamed the Ferré Center in his honor.