Chapman University is saddened to announce the death of Lawrence Dodge, businessman, philanthropist, member of the Chapman President’s Cabinet and friend of the University, who passed away on December 1, 2016.
A fervent believer in the importance of the arts and arts education, Larry Dodge was instrumental in the development of the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, through what was, at the time, the largest single gift in Chapman’s history.
“Larry Dodge provided the transforming gift that laid the foundation for the international reputation that Dodge College now enjoys,” said Dodge College Dean Bob Bassett. “Larry’s interest and involvement in the activities of the film school was ongoing over the years, and he was particularly enthusiastic and supportive of our international programs and our feature film company.”
“A good friend of several decades, Larry Dodge was a generous and gracious man that made our Chapman University community and the world a much better place through his remarkable generosity;” said Trustee Mark Chapin Johnson, “Larry leaves a legacy of involvement and contribution that will be fondly remembered by many.”
A third-generation Californian, Larry Dodge grew up on a citrus farm in Redlands. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps after high school and served as an aviator with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. While in the service, he earned his business degree.
Larry was involved in business, the arts and philanthropy throughout his life. At the age of 27, he was the youngest CEO of a national insurance group. He later created American Sterling Corporation, a privately held group of companies involved in banking, insurance, real estate, motion picture production and technology, where he was the founding chairman of the board and CEO.
Larry and Kristina first became involved with Chapman’s film school in 2000, when they funded the Next Generation Filmmakers project, which was the start of their passionate involvement with the university. In addition to their support for Chapman, they also supported a wide range of organizations and projects serving families, children and the arts, including St. Margaret’s Episcopal School and Segerstrom Center for the Arts, among many others.
Larry is survived by his sons Todd and Randy from his first marriage and by his daughters Laurenz, Tatiana, Cozette and Alexandra, his children with Kristina.