don booth

Memorial Service for Emeritus Professor Donald Booth Scheduled for May 7

Members of the Chapman community are invited to a Memorial Service celebrating the life of Emeritus Professor Donald Booth. The service will take place in the Wallace All Faiths Chapel at the Fish Interfaith Center on Saturday, May 7, at 2:30 p.m. There will be a reception following. If you are not able to be on campus, you may watch the service on Zoom.

Booth, an economics professor from 1959 through 2018, passed away in his sleep in the early morning of February 17, 2022. His time at Chapman as a teacher and administrator spanned nearly 60 years, longer than any other faculty or staff member in university history.

“We all knew him as an individual who dedicated his time and energy daily to the success of Chapman University, demonstrating an exceptional level of interest in students of every school and college,” said President Daniele C. Struppa. “Don was an educator of extraordinary intellect, drive and compassion.”

Booth served in numerous leadership roles during his time at Chapman, including as the first chair of Corporate Faculty from 1966-68, vice president of Academic Affairs and Dean of College from 1977-78, vice president of Finance and Administration in 1988, and the founding director of the Executive Masters in Business Administration from 1995-98. He also held the position of Larry Parlett Professor of Economics in Memory of Alan Thompson.

But it was his long-standing commitment to the Chapman Experience that won him the admiration of the many students and colleagues whose lives he touched. He was a mentor to countless students, and stayed connected and engaged with hundreds of alumni long after graduation. 

“He was always a voice of calm and reason during frequent turbulent and pressure-filled times,” said Mike Drummy ’74, former assistant vice chancellor and chief admission officer. “Over the years, I’d reach out to him often, or he’d just show up … somehow sensing I needed a pep talk.”

Booth and his wife, Louise, who passed away in 2012, were generous supporters to campus facilities and initiatives, including the Leatherby Libraries, College of Performing Arts, Chapman Athletics, Office of Church Relations, Town & Gown and many funds connected to the Argyros School of Business and Economics. He established the Don Booth Philanthropy Fund to bridge the financial gap for students who needed assistance. 

At a 2013 celebration in Booth’s honor, Doy B. Henley, chairman emeritus of Chapman University’s Board of Trustees, said, “He has helped so many people, whether it’s with an airline ticket, an internship or something else. There are so many ways he has transformed people’s lives. He’s one of the best people you will ever know in your life.”

“Dr. Donald Booth was among the legendary faculty members of Chapman University,” said David B. Moore (MA ’09), assistant vice president of legacy planning. “His son, David Booth ’80, tells me that Dr. Booth believed the memory care center where he lived the last several years to be the Chapman campus, so he was in his happy place.”

Staci Dumoski