President Struppa at State of the University.In his State of the University address Chapman President Daniele C. Struppa commends faculty who have recently received major research grants.
In his State of the University Address, Chapman President Daniele C. Struppa commends faculty who have recently received major research grants.

‘Proud to See This Growth,’ Chapman President Says in His State of the University Address

Chapman University is on target to exceed the goals of its five-year strategic plan, thanks to the University’s rising reputation, research excellence and student and faculty success, President Daniele C. Struppa said in his annual State of the University Address, delivered Friday, Feb. 21, in Musco Center for the Arts.

“I’m really proud to see this growth,” Struppa said as he outlined the achievements attained in 2019, the first year of the current strategic plan, titled “Engineering the Future.”

A New School of Engineering

The plan’s name reflects one of the most visible projects underway – the launch of Fowler School of Engineering, which welcomed its first students in September and moves into a new building in fall 2021. But the aim of shaping the University so that it remains relevant and meets the needs of future students drives all the plan’s priorities, from vigorous fundraising to support scholarships, Struppa said.

Among those key priorities is maximizing the campus footprint and facilities.

Key to the campus-planning arm of the strategic plan is the build-out of Fowler Engineering. Struppa shared images of its open design, which he said reflects an approach to teaching he has encouraged across academic disciplines. All barriers – from the tendency to work in academic silos to building designs that squirrel people away into offices – hinder the learning process, he said.

“This is designed as a place where people will go and naturally work with each other,” he said.

New Campus Projects

Other major projects will include:

  • Expansion of Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine, where graduate programs in pharmacy, physical therapy and physician assistant studies are housed.
  • Planning the restoration of and new uses for a nearby vacant historic grade school purchased by Chapman this year.
  • Build-out of the restored Villa Park Orchards warehouses, which will provide the Department of Dance with state-of-the art teaching and rehearsal studios.

Another priority is robust fundraising to support scholarship funds and endowments the next generation will need to access higher education, Struppa said. The president shared statistics revealing that by 2025, there will be fewer college-age students, and many will need extensive financial support to access higher education.

More Scholarship Support

“We need to increase ways to financially support our students,” he said.

The student loan default rate for Chapman students is just 2%, compared with a national rate of 10% — a difference Struppa credited to existing financial-aid support and an expanded career program with strong connections to regional employers.

But he warned of a growing demand.

“The common thread throughout this talk is about support for students. It is very important because tuition is rising and many students come from families that can’t afford it, so we need to be in a position to support students. We want to be able to choose the very best, regardless of whether they can afford it,” he said. “That’s our goal — to have the very best students and the very best faculty.”

Couldn’t Attend State of the University?

The State of the University address is available online.


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Dawn Bonker

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