Exploring Whitman’s endowment further; Buried in local land

Madeline Kemp, GM Jones Barbecque & Foot Massage

The Wire recently published an illuminating article explaining our college’s whopping 565.3 million dollar endowment. Since this article has been released we’ve been led to revisit the subject of Whitman’s endowment. 

The original article included that “The Whitman endowment owns and cooperates with tenants’ significant tracts of farmland in Eastern Washington and Oregon.” CFO Peter Harvey came back to The Wire, “By ‘invested in land,’ we mean physically. As in buried. We can’t actually free up the money because it is deep in the dirt of those fields.” 

It turns out Whitman College has simply taken the strategy of money-under-the-mattress to a gargantuan scale. In the previous article, Harvey listed many reasons why using and moving portions of the endowment fund is tricky business, but never explicitly said that the money is literally interred. 

Having the endowment safe and sound is important through volatile markets. As one trustee put it, “So what if it’s old school? What could be more secure than cold hard cash stashed in the cold hard ground?” 

We begrudgingly admit, they’re not wrong. Whitman’s endowment is notably larger and has remained more stable than many of our peer institutions, and now lots of endowments are rumored to be planted this coming spring. 

With our country and economy skating on thinning ice this winter, anything will do. “I know the financial intricacies and jargon can be really challenging,” Harvey explained, “so just consider the college like one giant squirrel who hides its nuts all around town and doesn’t forget where we left them.” Detailed maps supposedly leading to the buried money are stored under heavy security in the Stuart Room of Penrose Library, along with Napoleonic artifacts. 

Through these trying times Harvey concluded, “Gosh I’ve never gone so far as to say this, but if the students want the money so badly, I invite them to dig it up themselves.” Rumor has it that the maps may be released along with the comprehensive plan for spring semester before the end of the year. We are all on the edges of our seats.