don booth

Celebrating longtime Professor Don Booth’s career of teaching and giving

man accepting award

Professor Don Booth, center, is congratulated on his remarkable career at Chapman University at a reception in his honor held during Chapman Family Homecoming Celebration Oct. 5. Doy B. Henley, chairman of Chapman University’s Board of Trustees, introduced Booth, saying, “He has helped so many people.” Photo/Da Zhang (’15)

What does it say about a longtime professor when alumni near and far return to campus to hear his last lecture?

Ask Fola Odebunmi ’72, who now teaches economics at
Cypress College
, and attended Professor Don Booth’s Last Lecture and reception during the Chapman Family Homecoming Celebration Oct. 5. Odebunmi came to Chapman from Nigeria and returned to teach at the University of Benin. During that time, she would visit Booth periodically, always leaving with armloads of books from his shelves because he knew that textbooks were in short supply in Nigeria.

“I like his approach not just to teaching but to life,” she said. “He makes a real and lasting connection with students.”

Also returning to hear Booth’s last lecture was Kelsea Ballantyne ’07, SGA president and a Fulbright scholar as an undergrad at Chapman. Through her Fulbright, she developed a nonprofit start-up in India that helps women leave the sex trade and gain self-sufficiency. Now she’s studying sustainable land use at the Urban Land Institute in Michigan and flew in from Ann Arbor for the day.

She said that Booth “inspired me to go out into the world and do what I’m passionate about. He helped provide the support so I could feel comfortable going abroad. No one in my family had gone to college, and I had no idea what opportunities were out there.”

Booth has taught business and economics at Chapman since 1958 and served as dean of its early business school. In recent years he played a tremendous role in shaping the economics program in the
Argyros School of Business and Economics

Through the years he famously came to the rescue of students in need of help with textbook, travel and conference expenses. In his introduction of Booth at the lecture event, Doy B. Henley, chairman of the Chapman University’s Board of Trustees, said “He has helped so many people, whether it’s with an airline ticket, an internship or something else. There are so many ways he has transformed people’s lives. He’s one of the best people you will ever know in your life.”

The Don Booth Philanthropy Fund has been established to continue and expand that trademark generosity. More information about is available at
The Don Booth Philanthropy Fund

Dawn Bonker

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