Update on Wardman House

May 30, 2023

Wardman HouseWhittier College leadership provided the following update on the sale of Wardman House with the College community.

Dear Poets,

Following our message from April about the sale of Wardman House, we write today to provide you with an update.

A lovely local family – Rodolfo Lopez and Monica Varela of Whittier – with deep ties in the Whittier community has purchased the home where they intend to live with their four children. Being civically engaged in the community, they are eager to open the doors to the Whittier College community. And as former members of the Whittier Historic Neighborhood Association, they also plan to put Wardman House on the list of historical properties available for tour by appointment.

Here is the statement that Rodolfo and Monica provided:

“We thoroughly enjoy living in Whittier since 2002, and our family is delighted to deepen our community ties through the purchase of the historic Wardman House. Having hosted numerous fundraising events at our current home to help raise money for many local charities, it would be an absolute pleasure and honor for us to open the Wardman House doors to the Whittier community including the Whittier College community and their alumni. Further, as former members of the Whittier Historic Neighborhood Association, we pledge to maintain and restore the historical integrity of the house with the hope that it will be featured on Whittier tours."

While we emphasized to the realtors from the outset of the listing the importance of prospective buyers appreciating the home at least as much as many Poets do, we couldn’t have anticipated such generous and community-minded people as the family who bought the house. As the listing broker told us recently, it’s hard to imagine there could possibly be a better match for all parties.

We know the news of the sale of the house may be bittersweet for those alumni – including us – who have memories, affinity and nostalgia for Wardman House, which previously hosted more student events than it has the past couple of decades. It also holds symbolic value for many Poets, and has been an important part of our history.

However, we must move on from where we were to where we are going. For the past couple of decades, the house has no longer occupied the same central role it once did in campus life or for today’s students. We believe that our current and future students are better served by the proceeds from the sale being reinvested in areas of the campus that are more central to the student experience, such as core campus facilities, academic programs and employee compensation/retention. (The core campus - the Science Learning Center, Mendenhall, and the Shannon Center - will continue to be used for events and gatherings.)

Relatedly, and to address some concerns we have heard on the topic of selling properties, we want to clarify here that no other property sales are under consideration except for off-campus properties (like Wardman House) that are not needed to support  on-campus instruction and student life.

We are pleased the sale of the house was completed so efficiently and that its new owners are members of our local community. Moving forward, we remain committed to investing in Whittier’s future and keeping student success at the forefront of everything we do.

Best regards,

Ron Gastelum ’68, Chair, Board of Trustees
Alan Lund ’71, Chair, Debt/Asset Valuation Committee