This story appeared in the spring 2014 issue of Chapman Magazine.
For the past eight years, Chancellor Daniele Struppa, Ph. D., has led Chapman University’s academic growth, infusing its intellectual life with robust research, teaching and student-scholar interaction.
This spring, the University’s Board of Trustees awarded the highest praise for that remarkable work, officially naming Struppa “presidential designate” and successor to President Jim Doti, Ph.D., when Doti eventually retires. The Chapman Faculty Senate also voted to approve Struppa as the eventual successor to the University presidency.
Struppa will continue as chancellor, a role he relishes for its opportunity to build on the University’s tradition of individualized education, a classic model he prizes for its roots in the earliest universities and one he says he will continue as president.
“I am particularly proud of what I believe is one of the unique characteristics of the University, namely its attention on individual students, coupled with an emphasis on high- quality, internationally renowned researchers. The model which we have often described as the teacher-scholar, that brings us back to the best times of universities, where people like Galileo were teaching the students in Padova,” Struppa said.
Doti, 67, a respected economist whose 23 years at the helm of Chapman place him among the longest-serving university presidents in the nation, has stated that he has no immediate plans to retire from the post he has held since 1991. However, in a message to Chapman students, faculty and staff after the board’s vote, he clarified why he has strongly advocated this succession plan.
“While this action will not have any immediate impact, it paves the way for me to work more closely with Daniele on presidential matters,” Doti said in the message. He added that the succession plan “will help ensure that our long-run strategies and initiatives are based on a common vision and have the continuity of executive leadership to carry out that vision.”
Struppa, 58, joined Chapman University as chancellor in 2006. Previously he served at George Mason University, first as director of the Center for the Applications of Mathematics, then as chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences and as associate dean for graduate studies. In 1997, he was selected dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at George Mason, a position he held until he joined Chapman.
A distinguished mathematician, the Italian-born Struppa earned his laurea in mathematics from the University of Milan, Italy, and his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has authored more than 150 refereed publications, has edited several volumes, and is the author or co-author of seven books, including the upcoming The Mathematics of Superoscillations with Chapman physicists Yakir Aharonov, Ph.D., and Jeff Tollaksen, Ph.D.
While serving as chancellor, Struppa has continued his scholarly research, focusing on Fourier analysis and its applications to a variety of problems, including signal processing, pattern recognition and the proteomics of cancerous cells.
“I have grown to love this University and the values for which it stands,” Struppa said. “I plan to continue on the path to excellence that President Doti has charted with his impressive presidency, and to make sure that Chapman will be known as one of the very finest institutions in the country.”