fireworks over ernie chapman stadium

Chapman Family Comes Together to Celebrate 2021 Homecoming Chapman University's 160th Anniversary was celebrated with fireworks and festivities during the two-day event, culminating in Saturday's Homecoming football game.

In an event 160 years in the making, the Chapman University community came home to celebrate beloved Chapman traditions, support current students and reconnect with the Chapman Family over a two-day event culminating in Saturday night’s Homecoming football game in Ernie Chapman Stadium. 

Alumni, students, faculty, staff and family members of all ages were welcomed back for the weekend event on the Orange campus. For many attendees, it was their first opportunity to return to campus after a year and a half of pandemic-related separation. Enthusiasm was palpable as old friends reunited, visited with favorite professors or snapped photos with family members at picturesque campus spots.  

160th Anniversary Tailgate Extravaganza

Family fun was the order of the day at the 160th Anniversary Tailgate Extravaganza in Attallah Piazza on Saturday afternoon, with free food, drinks and live entertainment. Attendees were warmly welcomed home by Chapman University President Daniele Struppa. 

After a year apart, it’s great to be back in person together. We are once again studying together, enjoying our friends, alumni, parents and Chapman family. We delayed our 160th celebration until today, for Chapman’s homecoming, as a symbolic coming home. So, welcome back!” he said. 

homecoming crowd at tables in attalla piazza
Saturday afternoon, crowds gathered in Attallah Piazza at the 160th Anniversary Tailgate Extravaganza.
young men and women singing on outdoor stage
Live performances entertained the Chapman Family during Saturday’s tailgate festivities.
hot dogs ready to eat
Food and drinks at the tailgate were provided by Chapman’s schools, colleges and departments.

During the event, Struppa unveiled a new statue of Abraham Lincoln, a tribute to the ideals that the university has upheld since its foundation as Hesperian College 160 years ago.

louise taper and daniele struppa unveil lincoln statue
Louise Taper and Daniele Struppa reveal the new statue of Abraham Lincoln during Saturday’s Tailgate in Attallah Piazza.

Chapman’s founders deliberately chose the date of President Lincoln’s inauguration to open the new college in order to make a statement about their belief in equality to a country on the brink of the Civil War. Louise Taper, historian, Lincolnphile, art collector and friend of the University, donated a new statue of Abraham Lincoln and joined President Struppa to unveil the new artwork.

“The statue will have its final home near Liberty Plaza, a prominent place on campus which I pass by several times each day,” President Struppa said. “There you find a piece of the Berlin Wall and a chair inspired by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The statue will appear as if he is walking to freedom and Liberty. It serves as a beacon of our enduring values of equality and freedom.”

Panthers Vs. Claremont-M-S Stags

What’s Homecoming without a Homecoming football game? It was standing room only for the home team in Ernie Chapman Stadium as the Panthers took on the Claremont-M-S Stags in a showdown that ended with a disappointing 42-34 loss for Chapman. Prior to the game, the Panthers celebrated 33 seniors in a pre-game ceremony.

football game in progress at ernie chapman stadium
Panther football faced off against the Claremont-M-S Stags at Saturday’s Homecoming game.

Swenson Family Hall of Engineering Dedication 

The dedication of Chapman’s newest cutting-edge facility, the Swenson Family Hall of Engineering, was attended by Chapman faculty, administrators, special guests and excited attendees who couldn’t wait to get a glimpse inside. 

swenson hall of engineering ribbon cutting
President Daniele Struppa, Cheryl Lentz, Christopher Lentz, Dean Andrew Lyon and additional members of the Swenson family cut the ribbon at the official opening of the Swenson Family Hall of Engineering.

At the dedication, Dean of Fowler School of Engineering Andrew Lyon remarked, “Thanks to the extraordinary gift from the Swenson Family, engineering has a home in the Keck Center – a place where our students can work towards even higher levels of achievement, and where our faculty can bring their teaching and research innovations to life. ” 

“The completion of this state-of-the-art academic building marks a milestone in the history of Chapman University,” said President Struppa. He thanked the Swenson Family and the Swenson Family Foundation for their generosity, and for the opportunities they have created for the next generation of engineers.

tour group inside swenson hall of engineering
Tours of the Swenson Family Hall of Engineering let visitors explore the cutting-edge features of this state-of-the-art learning facility.

Other weekend events included Master Class lectures, including Professor Stephanie Takaragawa’s popular course, “The Anthropology of Disneyland,” guided tours of Chapman’s Escalette Permanent Collection of Art and the Hilbert Museum, and special luncheons for this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award honorees and for the newest alumni inaugurated into Chapman’s 50 Year Club

Alumni from the class of 1970 with 50 year club stoles
Alumni from the class of 1970 celebrated their admission to the 50 Year Club one year late.
Alumni from the class of 1971 with 50 year club stoles
The class of 1971 joins Chapman’s 50 Year Club, and celebrated with a festive luncheon during homecoming.
outdoor luncheon
Honorees of the 2020 and 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards were recognized at a special banquet during Homecoming weekend.

“It was so great to be back on campus,” said Julianne Askew ’05. “To see the students and their families having a good time. It just proves that the Chapman Family is stronger than ever.” 

Staci Dumoski