The Campaign for Chapman University


Chapman Launches Most Ambitious Fundraising Campaign to Date, Announces Major Gift

Chapman University just announced the largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign in university history, with a goal of $500 million by 2028 and increasing the university’s endowment to $2 billion by 2037.


Kay and Jim Burra
Kay and Jim Burra at Chapman Celebrates.

Inspire: The Campaign for Chapman University was publicly announced Feb. 10 at Chapman’s annual State of the University address. 

More than $315 million has already been raised during the campaign’s silent phase.

“The success of the silent phase of the campaign is a testament to the commitment our donors have to Chapman and their belief in our mission,” said Matt Parlow, Chapman’s executive vice president and chief advancement officer. “This commitment is what enabled Chapman to have raised over $315 million in five years and what will drive the rest of the campaign forward over the course of the new strategic plan.”

At the university’s 40th and final signature gala, Chapman Celebrates, President Daniele C. Struppa announced the first transformative gift of the campaign. 

The gift – $5 million from generous, longtime Chapman donors Jim and Kay Burra – will catalyze innovation at Chapman by creating the Burra School of Accounting and Finance within the Argyros School of Business and Economics.

Careers in business and finance are expected to grow by 7% over the next decade, with certain roles in the sector projected to increase by more than double the average growth rate for all occupations.

There’s a strong need for well-trained professionals in this quickly evolving field, and Chapman University’s newest school will help prepare the next generation of leaders. The new Burra School of Accounting and Finance will equip students with relevant knowledge in the ever-changing industry and allow them to build the skills employers seek.

“We are proud to be part of the Chapman Family, and we look forward to supporting the excellence of accounting and finance students and faculty for many years,” the Burras said.

The couple has been involved with Chapman for decades. Jim Burra is a member of the Board of Trustees and chairs the investment committee. He served on Chapman’s Board of Governors from 1998-2011, then was elected to the Board of Trustees in April 2011. In addition to chairing the board’s investment committee, he was vice chair of the finance committee. 

Burra’s many contributions to the Board of Trustees were enhanced by his leadership roles in several companies. He was CFO of multi-industry public company Intercole, Inc., and most recently he served as president and majority owner of Endural. Kay Burra previously served as co-chair of Chapman Celebrates with Jim and has long been an active force in Women of Chapman, a philanthropy organization dedicated “to a program of service to Chapman University.”

“The Burras’ generosity is a leap forward for the Argyros School toward reaching its goal of becoming a top 50 business school, and a big step toward Chapman completing the $500 million fundraising campaign,” Struppa said at the gala.

“Our donors are at the heart of our progress as a business school,” said Henrik Cronqvist, dean of the Argyros School. “Their support allows us to create new and innovative programs and strengthen existing ones. The generosity of the Burras will allow us to prepare students for the dynamic fields of accounting and finance.”

If a $5 million gift weren’t enough to catalyze the campaign, Chapman already has a series of gifts lined up that will be announced over the coming months.

“These gifts will help fuel the public phase of the campaign and lift Chapman’s many strengths to even greater heights,” Struppa said at the gala event.

“Throughout its more than 160 years, Chapman has continually exceeded expectations – it’s in our DNA,” Parlow said. “The success of the silent phase of this campaign is proof that Chapman’s ambitions are never too high, and we are grateful to our friends and donors, whose vision and generosity propel Chapman’s ascent as a nationally prominent university.”

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