Chapman University announced a transformative gift of $10 million from the Argyros family, which has led to the elevation of the George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics to the George L. Argyros College of Business and Economics. This gift represents a significant milestone in the university’s history and reaffirms the Argyros family’s enduring commitment to education and philanthropy.
Chapman University’s history is marked by moments of extraordinary resilience and growth. In 1975, during a challenging financial period, businessman and Trustee George L. Argyros ’59 played a pivotal role in securing the university’s future. Over two decades later, the Argyros School of Business and Economics was named in his honor, recognizing his entrepreneurial spirit, philanthropic endeavors, and dedication to service.
The latest gift from the Argyros family, announced on September 22, 2023, has propelled the Argyros School to college status, encompassing various schools dedicated to research and teaching, including the newly established Burra School of Accounting and Finance.
This generous $10 million donation will propel Argyros College towards its goal of becoming one of the nation’s top 50 business schools. Recent years have witnessed remarkable progress, with the Argyros School climbing more than 25 places in national rankings. Just last May, it surged from No. 72 to No. 60 in the Best Business Schools rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
Chapman University President Daniele C. Struppa emphasized the impact of this generous gift, saying, “This gift will propel Argyros into one of the top business schools in the nation by enabling us to continue offering excellent, personalized education in business and economics that aligns with industry needs.”
This significant contribution aligns with Chapman University’s Strategic Plan goal of raising $500 million through its Inspire campaign to support academic excellence. To date, more than $357 million has been raised, thanks to the steadfast support of philanthropic leaders like the Argyros family.
George Argyros was Chapman’s longest-serving chair of the Board of Trustees, from 1976 to 2001. Chapman’s business school was named for him in 1999 and other campus facilities bear his and his wife’s names, including Argyros Forum, Argyros Global Citizens Plaza and the Julianne Argyros Fitness Center.
After graduating from Chapman in 1959 with a degree in business and economics, George Argyros managed a grocery store in Palm Springs. He got a real estate license and borrowed $1,200 to go into business. In 1968, he founded real estate brokerage firm Arnel & Affiliates.
Argyros served on corporate boards and was honored by various organizations for his public service. As Chapman Board of Trustees chair, he oversaw campus transformations including the establishment of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and Fowler School of Law. He received an honorary doctorate from Chapman in 2005.
Dean Henrik Cronqvist noted that the Argyros family’s latest gift acknowledges the business college’s past successes while accelerating its future achievements. As Argyros College continues to rise in the rankings, it fosters successful careers for its graduates and aims to inspire future business leaders.
The gift was announced at the launch of Argyros’ Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series, where Earvin “Magic” Johnson was the inaugural speaker. Johnson answered questions posed by Cronqvist, and took time afterward to answer two students’ questions about how to conduct themselves in business.
“I’m a risk taker … if I see that everything is lining up and we can make some money and make a difference, I do it,” Johnson told one student. “It has to be both – I don’t make a deal unless we can make a difference. Community impact is very important.”
Another student, who asked for advice on how to persevere through rejection, gained inspiring insight from Johnson, who told her to “quit worrying about what others say. You have to believe in you. You keep showing up to work, doing your job. You’re smart, you have to love yourself first.”
Magic Johnson’s participation in the Argyros lecture series aligns with the college’s tradition of supporting entrepreneurs like its namesake. In addition to being widely regarded as the greatest point guard in NBA history, Johnson currently serves as the chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises. He holds ownership stakes in prominent sports franchises, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Sparks, the Washington Commanders, the Los Angeles Football Club, and eSports franchise Team Liquid.
Ever seeking new opportunities, the former Los Angeles Laker continues to expand his business portfolio with investments in minority-owned technology companies, further demonstrating his commitment to entrepreneurship and diversity.
The Argyros Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series, featuring luminaries like Magic Johnson, underscores Chapman’s commitment to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders. With two to three speakers each semester sharing their remarkable career trajectories, the series offers invaluable insights and inspiration to students and the broader community. The next lecture is Nov. 9, with the guest to be announced.
About Chapman University
Founded in 1861, Chapman University is a nationally ranked private university in Orange, California, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles. Chapman serves nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, with a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students can choose from 123 areas of study within 11 colleges for a personalized education. Chapman is categorized by the Carnegie Classification as an R2 “high research activity” institution. Students at Chapman learn directly from distinguished world-class faculty including Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur fellows, published authors and Academy Award winners. The campus has produced a Rhodes Scholar, been named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars and hosts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. Chapman also includes the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine. The university features the No. 4 film school and No. 60 business school in the U.S. Learn more about Chapman University: www.chapman.edu.