Since Whitman College founder Cushing Eells gave part of his Waiilatpu farm to the young college over a century ago, farms have been an important source of support for Whitman College. In turn, Whitman has contributed to the agricultural bounty of the region through its prudent management of donated farm properties.
Today, the college manages farms in two ways:
- The college owns some farms as investments of the endowment and uses the income from operations to support the college.
- The college manages farms through trusts which pay the income generated by the farm or sale proceeds from the farm to living donors and their heirs.
Currently, the college owns farms in Walla Walla, Columbia, Umatilla and Garfield counties. In every case, the farms held by the college today came to it as gifts from farmers. The donors have had the satisfaction of helping young people obtain an excellent education, while knowing their land will continue to be cultivated. In addition, the donors receive tax and financial management benefits.
Whitman College is also interested in gifts of timberland, orchards, ranches or cattle - all of which can be used to support student scholarships, faculty research, or other academic priorities.