Julianne Argyros and former President Bush enjoy a light moment during their Q&A dialogue at the Argyros School celebration dinner.
Julia Argyros and former President Bush enjoy a light moment during their Q&A dialogue at the dinner celebrating 20 years of achievement at Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics.

Argyros School Celebrates a Milestone Moment With Former President George W. Bush Surprise $10 million gift from the Argyros Family marks the 20th anniversary event.

To mark the occasion of 20 years of achievement and growth since the naming of the George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University, the Argyros Family announced a surprise gift of $10 million to the Argyros School’s endowment.

Julia Argyros and Lisa Argyros ’07 unveiled the news during a special fundraiser featuring former President George W. Bush on Wednesday, Oct. 9. President Bush’s visit was part of the University’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of the transformational naming gift made by Julia and George Argyros, who served President George W. Bush as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain and the Principality of Andorra.

Lisa Argyros, daughter of The Honorable George L. Argyros ’59 and chair of the event, announced, “We as a family are so inspired by all of you, by the money that we’ve raised here tonight and so moved by being with all of the people that we love, and we love this school so much that we want to donate $10 million toward the future of the Argyros School.”

Gathered at Ambassador George L. Argyros Global Citizens Plaza are, from left, Argyros School Dean Tom Turk, Chapman President Danielle C. Struppa, former President George Bush, Julianne Argyros and Lisa Argyros. The 43rd president’s visit included a meeting with students, a reception with business leaders and a dinner hour Q&A dialogue with Julianne Argyros.
Gathered at Ambassador George L. Argyros Global Citizens Plaza are, from left, Argyros School Dean Tom Turk, Chapman President Danielle C. Struppa,  President George Bush, Julia Argyros and Lisa Argyros ’07.

“George and I see three Argyros children involved in Chapman today,” said Julia Argyros. “and it now looks like you’re stuck with us for a long time.”

The unexpected gift was met with applause by the crowd of 350 business leaders and CEOs.

“I don’t know how to express the gratitude,” said Chapman President Daniele Struppa. “You have been a tremendous support to this school, and once again you have demonstrated your love. I want you to know we are grateful for the university, but we are grateful for our students.”

The gift, coupled with the $5 million raised by the evening event, pushes the school’s endowment to $64 million. Chapman recently launched a “50 for 50” campaign to help support the next generation of scholars at the Argyros School. The goal is to enhance the student experience by propelling the Argyros School into the top 50 in the U.S. News & World Report business school rankings by raising $50 million, thus increasing the Argyros School’s total endowment to $100 million.

Joining in the celebratory moment when Lisa Argyros ’07, at podium, announced a $10 million gift to Chapman University’s Argyros School are, from left, George Argyros Jr. ’89 (JD ’01), Stephanie Argyros, former President George W. Bush, Julianne Argyros and Chapman President Daniele C. Struppa.
Joining in the celebratory moment when Lisa Argyros ’07, at podium, announced a $10 million gift to Chapman University’s Argyros School are, from left, George Argyros Jr. ’89 (JD ’01), Stephanie Argyros, former President George W. Bush, Julianne Argyros and Chapman President Daniele C. Struppa.

Today the Argyros School is among the top business schools in U.S. News & World Report rankings and offers five graduate programs. The school graduates some 600 students every year, compared with about 180 two decades ago.

Such a culture of achievement was precisely what Argyros envisioned for the school named in his honor 20 years ago. In his remarks during that naming dedication, he called for greatness.

“Dare to dream. Take advantage of the ability to think big and reach high. Be willing to take risks. Fight courageously for the principles you believe in,” Argyros said.

Prior to the dinner, former President Bush meets with Argyros School MBA students for a discussion on leadership, business and politics.
Prior to the dinner, President Bush meets with Argyros School MBA students, from left, Argelia Diaz, Laurie Grijalva, and Jose Guadarrama, for a discussion on leadership, business and politics.

Argyros had already long embodied that spirit in his dedication to Chapman, providing leadership and generosity that has played an unparalleled role in Chapman’s rise to national prominence. Argyros was first elected to the Chapman Board of Trustees in 1976 and went on to serve as chairman for 26 years – the longest tenure of anyone in the role.

The Argyros’ generosity at Chapman is visible in other programs across campus, including the Argyros Forum Student Union, the Julianne Argyros Fitness Center, the Ambassador George L. Argyros ’59 Global Citizens Plaza and Julianne Argyros Fountain and the Julianne Argyros Orchestra Hall in Musco Center for the Arts.

Dawn Bonker

Dawn Bonker