Make a Bequest

Of all the ways to remember Warren Wilson, the easiest is through a testamentary gift through your will or trust. You may direct gifts of cash, marketable securities or real property to the College, and either designate a specific purpose for your gift or use it to provide general support. For information on bequest language, look here.

Jim Henderson


Jim Henderson first learned about Warren Wilson when he was on the staff at Duke University. “I recognized that Warren Wilson is a school that has a wonderful formula for education: work, study and service. I liked those values, and it impressed me that Warren Wilson graduates were going out to make a diff erence in the world, rather than just going out to make money.”

When Jim moved to a new job in Cleveland, he kept his ties to Warren Wilson, hosting Alf Canon, then the college president, and helping to raise money. Jim and his wife retired to Montreat, NC, in 2005, where he quickly became a member of Warren Wilson’s Board of Visitors before being named trustee in 2007.

“When you get involved with something, your heart follows your actions,” Jim says. He and his wife followed their hearts by making a bequest to Warren Wilson in their wills. “Because I worked in education for my entire career, I didn’t amass a substantial net worth and couldn’t make the kind of gift I wanted to on a current basis. But a planned gift allows me to do so, on a deferred basis.”

“There are so few opportunities in life to state in a concrete way what is really important to you,” Jim says. “Your estate plan really is your final word in life, when you can show what really matters to you. We want everyone to know what Warren Wilson means to us.”

Dr. Martha Anne McKnight

Scholarship Support through BequestWhiteBarn

Although she never attended Warren Wilson herself, Martha Anne McKnight always heard about the school from her late father, Harold McKnight, who was a student of The Asheville Farm School and graduated just before World War II.

“My grandmother died when my father was only 11,” says Martha Anne.“My grandfather worked two jobs caring for her and the family. My father finished at the county school when he was only 16, but there was no money for college. A family friend suggested Warren Wilson for its work-study opportunity.”

A hard worker, Harold thrived at Warren Wilson. “At first he was assigned to the farm, but then he was asked to help care for the boilers,” says Martha Anne. “He loved learning about them and went on to become a mechanical engineer. He really seemed to blossom at Warren Wilson, and was president of his graduating class.” Harold also created a lifelong bond with his roommate; after WWII, they roomed together again at college and remained lifelong friends.

For her planned gift, Martha Anne has created the Harold F. McKnight Scholarship that will be fully funded through a bequest. “My father always said that Warren Wilson kept him going in an era when he couldn’t have written a check. I don’t think he could have done that anywhere else.”


Mr. and Mrs. Ralph and Orlean Beeson

Leaving a Legacy to Build Student Scholarships

"We hope to help Warren Wilson a bit more in our will." This is how Mr. Ralph Beeson described his wife and his intent to build scholarships for need-based aid at the College. He had become concerned about his ability to provide care for his wife and did not know what care he himself might need in the future. But he did have a strong commitment to higher education born out of his father’s life as a college president.

Mr. Beeson, a retired insurance executive from Birmingham, Alabama, grew to know and appreciate Warren Wilson College through Algie Sutton, a 1925 graduate of the Asheville Farm School and fellow businessman in Birmingham. The Beesons told Algie and Ben Holden —then President of the College— how blessed they felt to be able to make philanthropic gifts. As they reached the limits of their ability to give during their lifetime, the Beesons planed to make bequests to the institutions they had come to know and love over their lifetime. While there are many ways to make a "planned gift," the Beesons did not overlook this simplest of ways. A bequest allowed them to make sure that each of their needs would be provided for, but that their wishes would be clear after they were gone.

Their gift established an endowed scholarship fund from which earnings are used each year to provide student aid. The College has a number of such funds in its endowment; the minimum gift needed to establish a named fund is $25,000.

If you find these stories compelling, we would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your giving desires and options.  Please contact our Office of Advancement at 828.771.2042. We look forward to hearing your story!