Since graduating from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona more than 55 years ago, Don B. Huntley has made many charitable contributions to his alma mater.

But none so stunning as his pistachio farm.

Recently, Huntley made the decision to donate the 475.34-acre farm to Cal Poly Pomona, to benefit the College of Agriculture. During its September board meeting, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a resolution to rename the college the Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture in recognition of his generosity.

Watch the video below to learn more about Huntley and his donations to Cal Poly Pomona:

 


One Powerful Nut

Huntley earned his degree in animal husbandry in 1960. He began his career in veterinary pharmaceutical sales, but by 1966 he'd entered the world of tree crops. In addition to pistachios, his Huntley Moore Farms also grow cherries and almonds.

The pistachios can be purchased in stores like Williams-Sonoma or at the Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch on the Cal Poly Pomona campus.

The gift of the pistachio farm, located in Fresno County, helps position the university as a leader in the agriculture industry. The Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture is the founding college at Cal Poly Pomona and the only college of agriculture in southern California. Its new farm is expected to provide funds that will benefit academic innovations, scientific research and student scholarships.

Pistachios are a particularly important crop. They are the most drought-tolerant nut grown in California, especially compared to thirsty crops like walnuts and almonds. The state now produces nearly all of the U.S. supply of pistachios; Huntley's farm alone produces more than 800 tons per year.

There is also a lot to learn about modern farming and agriculture techniques through pistachios. As California continues to battle extreme drought conditions, farmers have used the nuts to experiment with "smart farming" because they only need to be watered during certain times in their life cycle.

Now, pistachios will be one of many lasting signs of Huntley's nearly lifelong relationship with Cal Poly Pomona, which includes donations to the school's science and environmental design programs and the establishment of a fine art collection on campus.

The university honored Huntley as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2004 and granted him an honorary doctorate of science in 2009.

But perhaps none of his contributions will be remembered like the pistachio farm – certainly his largest, and most delicious, legacy to his alma mater.


Click through the gallery of photos of Don Huntley and his recently-donated pistachio farm. All photos courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona