Sen. Jay Rockefeller and his wife Sharon settled yesterday on their new $6 million, 15-acre Crestwood estate, The Rocks. The estate on Shepherd Street NW is the most expensive private property sold recently in Washington. It was sold by Begg Realtors, which recently sold former ambassador True Davis' Woodland Drive NW house for $2 million plus . . .

Actor Paul Newman next week will donate $1.2 million to the University of California's School of Pharmacy to establish and endow a Scott Newman Chair in Pharmacy at the Scott Newman Center for Drug Abuse Prevention and Health Communication Research. The chair and center are in memory of his son who died in 1978 from an overdose of painkillers and alcohol . . .

When Rep. Ken Kramer read yesterday's Personalities column, he learned that Rep. James Scheuer had won the Congressional Club's ninth annual chili cook-off. Kramer was a bit surprised since he thought he had won. His press secretary Greg Sparrow called to quip, "I realize this is of national importance, but the trophy's sitting on my boss' table. I'm not calling to complain or anything, but Ken's real proud of his chili." That left Scheuer's press secretary George Burke, who had not been at the cook-off, to abashedly explain how he had misconstrued in his zeal to get out the information to the press about Scheuer's victory. "We messed up," he said. Scheuer had come in fourth. But then there's always next year . . .

President Reagan traveled to St. John's University in Jamaica, N.Y., yesterday to promote his economic policies but found the students had other things on their minds. One held a placard reading "Nuke the Hoyas." They face their fierce rivals, the Georgetown University Hoyas, tomorrow in Lexington, Ky., in the national championship semifinal game in the NCAA tournament. Reagan did not take sides but the school presented him with a replica of the "lucky" sweater St. John's Redmen coach Lou Carnesecca wears during the season. St. John's president, the Rev. Joseph Cahill, said the sweater would help the president in his battles with Congress. As if he needs any help . . .