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Chapman leadership with the Shah family during the gift agreement signing
The Shah Family with Chapman leadership

Argyros College Leads in Innovation with Shah Family’s Major Gift

A gift from The Shah Happiness Foundation will fund the Shah Family Endowed Chair in Innovativeness within Chapman University’s George L. Argyros College of Business and Economics. This philanthropic initiative aims to ignite innovation, education and research at the intersection of high-tech thinking and low-tech industries.

The Shah Family Endowed Chair will be pivotal in promoting innovative thinking through a dedicated full-semester course titled “Creativity and Innovation — Corporate Entrepreneurship.” Further, the endowed chair will actively engage in research and service activities, exploring the successful application of high-tech thinking to low-tech industries.

“Manu and Rika Shah were recently honored with the Business Excellence Award by Argyros College,” said Matt Parlow, Chapman’s executive vice president and chief advancement officer. “We couldn’t be more pleased that such esteemed business leaders are partnering with Chapman in this endeavor.”

The endowment also includes plans to offer internships to Chapman students, fostering a collaborative bridge between academia and industry. These internships will provide students with hands-on experience, mirroring the Shahs’ transformative journey in the surfacing industry and the founding of their company, M S International, Inc. (MSI).

“What Manu did at MSI was apply high-tech thinking and innovativeness to a low-tech stone industry,” said Henrik Cronqvist, dean of Argyros College. “Manu and MSI did not create new products or new technologies; they applied creative thinking to become an industry-leading company. With this gift, the Shah family expresses their deep commitment to education, innovation and social impact. We are thankful for their support!”

The Shah Family Endowed Chair will host events featuring local and national leaders who have successfully applied high-tech thinking to low-tech industries, providing students with invaluable opportunities to learn from their experiences. The initiative will culminate in an annual awards program, The Shah Family Awards for Innovativeness, recognizing leaders in this domain.

“Chapman is thrilled to provide students with direct exposure to advanced technology in traditional sectors, equipping them with the essential skills and innovative mindset required for success in these industries,” said Chapman President Daniele C. Struppa.

The Shah Family Endowed Chair in Innovativeness has a mission to share research findings, case studies and best practices nationally. The ultimate goal is to prepare the next generation of innovative low-tech industry leaders and entrepreneurs equipped with the skills to adapt and thrive.

The endowed chair aligns with the Shahs’ longstanding dedication to making dreams a reality and their significant impact through the Shah Happiness Foundation. Founded in 1975, the Shahs’ company, MSI, is a leading supplier of North American flooring, countertop, wall tile and hardscaping products. Headquartered in Orange, CA, MSI maintains over 45 state-of-the-art showrooms and distribution centers across the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to the endowed chair, Manu and Rika recently had a room named after them in Beckman Hall, titled the “Shah Happiness Room for Innovativeness.”

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