Daniele C. Struppa, Jim Doti, Rick Muth, Matt Parlow
Daniele C. Struppa, Jim Doti, Rick Muth and Matt Parlow at Chapman University Economic Forecast, where a generous gift by Muth was announced that will fund the new Rick Muth Family Chair in Economics, which will be held by Chapman President Emeritus Jim Doti.

President Emeritus Jim Doti Surprised with Gift of Endowed Chair at Chapman’s Economic Forecast

Chapman University Board of Trustees member Rick Muth (MBA ’81) has channeled the economic knowledge he gained from Chapman into a successful business. Now, he is using that success to support business education at his alma mater.

At Chapman’s Economic Forecast on Dec. 14, President Daniele C. Struppa announced Muth’s generous gift that will fund the new Rick Muth Family Chair in Economics. 

During the event, President Emeritus Jim Doti was surprised with the news that the provost named him the chair holder.

“Rick has carried on the great Muth family name and it is an honor to serve as the inaugural Muth chair,” Doti said. 

Muth, a former student of Doti’s, praised his mentor during the forecast. Muth is a longtime supporter of the forecast and founded Chapman’s Inland Empire forecast in 1993. 

“My friend and mentor, it is an honor that you are the first person to be in the chair of the Rick Muth Family Chair in Economics,” Muth told Doti. 

He continued: “You and your team are at the top of the forecast world. It’s been great to be a part of this.”

Muth said the Economic Forecast helped him run his company and gave him information to share with customers, friends, family and people in his industry.

“Rick’s business expertise and generosity have made Chapman’s economic data accessible to so many in Southern California,” Struppa said.

The gift will further fuel the rise of the Argyros College of Business and Economics into the nation’s top 50 business schools by supporting economics education.

Chapman’s momentum in business education started more than 40 years ago when Doti started the Economic Forecast in his economics classroom. The annual forecast has since become a nationally respected indicator known for its accuracy. At the time, Doti said he just wanted to “make the class more interesting” by working with students to forecast how the Orange County economy would perform.

At the suggestion of then-Board of Trustees Chairman George Argyros, Doti presented his findings to a wider audience in 1978.

“[Since the] 1970s, you and the Chapman team have made your mark in the forecast world year after year after year,” Muth said to Doti.

Argyros College of Business and Economics Dean Henrik Cronqvist said Doti’s decades-long involvement in the forecast exemplifies his dedication and shows that the community “really wanted the information that came from the forecast.”

Over time, Doti and his team have helped Chapman become a regional hub for economic data as the economic environment changes, Cronqvist said.

“To consistently, year after year, have a high degree of accuracy is not easy, and that’s a testament to their expertise and data modeling,” he said.

Doti has also contributed to economics scholarship at Chapman with his creation of an econometrics certificate.

Muth studied under Doti for his MBA after taking over as president and CEO of ORCO Block in 1975. In addition to founding the Inland Empire Economic Forecast and serving on Chapman’s Board of Trustees, Muth supported the university’s Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy, which opened in 2016.

“We’re so thankful for Rick’s leadership in Chapman’s economic forecasts and for his generosity in educating future business leaders,” said campaign co-chair Jim Mazzo.

Muth’s gift bolsters Chapman’s strategic plan goal to raise $500 million through its Inspire campaign. A total of $367 million has been raised.


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