Meet your donors

Story by Morgan Yuvienco

Photo by Abby Smith

Chapman is scattered with names on every building, wall, tree, and even some slabs of concrete students walk on. That’s because it’s a private university.

Endowments have been a staple part of the university’s growth, ever since its days as California Christian College. Chapman’s biggest and most notable benefactor, Charles C. Chapman is credited for expanding Cal-Christian into the college it soon became – and his dedication to the early days of the school are now seen in the University’s name.

Students at Chapman either understand why donors give, or don’t care to grasp why they are significant to the school.

“The donors are wealthy people who went to Chapman or whose children went to Chapman,” said Marissa Navarro, a freshman creative producing major. “I think they donate to give back to a school that means a lot to them.”

It is also noted that the donors may relish the attention that comes with their donations.

“I think the donors have to care about Chapman a certain amount to donate that much money,” said Jules Silverman, a sophomore television and broadcast journalism major. “But they also have the option to donate anonymously, so they want their names out there and that comes with the reputation of having tons of money.”

But Chapman President Jim Doti sees a side to donors that maybe not all students see. He recently told Riviera magazine:

Families like the Argyroses, Muscos, Leatherbys and Samuelis are not only philanthropic, they believe passionately in the mission of our university.  I’ve seen all these incredible people walk the campus.  The smiles on their faces as they greet our students reveals their gratification at seeing the next generation of community leaders have the opportunity to benefit from Chapman experience.”

Here is more about some of them.

Dale E. Fowler


Dale E. Fowler founded Fowler Properties, a real-estate development company in Anaheim and Ontario, California.

Connection to Chapman:

He graduated from Chapman College in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and now serves on the Chapman Board of Trustees and occasionally helps with real-estate transactions.

About his beneficiary:

Wanting to be more acquainted with his alma mater, Dale E. Fowler and his wife, Sarah, started to become more involved on campus in the 1990’s. They eventually decided to pledge $55 million to the law school, after hearing of Chapman’s plans to make the program more competitive in attracting students and faculty. Thomas Campbell, Dean of the Dale E. Fowler School of Law, described the significance of the Fowlers’ contribution.

“It is the second largest single gift ever to any law school in the US. It establishes our permanence,” said Campbell. “It is a tremendous vote of confidence in the quality of our educative mission.” The school of law was renamed the Dale E. Fowler School of Law in their honor. University officials planned to direct the money to scholarships, new faculty, and more academic programs.

George Argyros


George Argyros started his business career as the owner of a grocery store. He then went on to buying and selling real estate to gas stations, eventually becoming involved in selling property in Southern California. This is where he gained his fortune – an estimated networth of $2 billion, according to Forbes Magazine. He can also claim to be the owner of the Seattle Mariners baseball team from 1981 to 1989. In 2001, he was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra.

Connction to Chapman:

He graduated from Chapman in 1959 with a major in business and economics, and once served as Chair on the Chapman Board of Trustees. 

About his beneficiary:

A Chapman alum, Argyros donated significant resources towards establishing Chapman as a leading business school. The business school was renamed in his honor in 1999. As one of the biggest benefactors at Chapman University, his name also appears on Argyros Forum. Argyros explained his connection to Chapman in a 2010 interview with Greek Reporter. “I graduated from Chapman College, and I give back to them,” said Argyros. “I admire what Chapman stands for. I am very committed and supportive of private higher education.”

Doy Henley


From 1961 until the late 1990s, Doy Henley owned and operated aerospace manufacturing companies in Orange County, such as Aeromil Engineering. He is known in the aerospace engineering world as the first man to implement titanium curves. Henley also owned and operated Cox Hobbies, a consumer product business that specializes in hobby and toy products such as radio controlled planes and trains.

Connection to Chapman:

Henley became involved with Chapman when it was still a college, acting on his good friend George Argyros’s suggestion. He was once the Chair of the Chapman Board of Trustees. He stays supporting the school because he believes in their mission and leadership. An important benefactor in Chapman’s history, Henley continues to believe and support Chapman’s growth as a university. “Chapman students are outstanding and seeing their accomplishments makes it all worthwhile,” he said in a 2012 interview with the Orange Review. “They are game-changers who will be effective future leaders. It is, and has been, a marvelous experience to be a small part of Chapman’s rise to becoming a university of distinction.”

About his beneficiary:

Many buildings on campus have been created with the help of Henley’s donations. The Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room on the 2nd floor of the Leatherby Libraries was created with Henley’s lifelong passion of reading in mind. His name also appears on the 4-floor student residence Henley Hall.


Donna Attallah


Donna Attallah was a teacher of kindergarten and first grade for 40 years. As a young teacher she met her late husband, Fahmy Attallah, a private practice psychologist. They never had children of their own, so they dedicated their lives to serving students.

Connection to Chapman:

Attallah graduated from Chapman in 1961 with a degree in education. She currently serves on the Chapman Board of Trustees.

About her beneficiary:

Attallah and her husband gave generous donations to Chapman University throughout the years, creating the Donna Ford and Fahmy Attallah, Ph.D. Library of Arts and Humanities, the Attallah Professorship in Education, and the Attallah Chair in Church Relations. Following Fahmy’s death in 2005, Attallah donated $1.5 million to create the Attallah Piazza in his honor. “Fahmy adored nature and the outdoors,” she said at the piazza’s grand opening. “If he had a ten-minute break, when most people would run and get a cup of coffee, he’d always go outside and just sit and enjoy the sun.”

Paul Musco


Paul Musco is the chairman of Gemini Industries Inc., which recovers precious metals used by oil refiners to produce octane for gasoline. Musco and his wife, Marybelle, are involved in many charities in Orange County and have donated to many organizations and projects that mean something to them. They have donated to the Orange County School of the Arts, Canyon Acres Children and Family Services, and Chapman University.

Connection to Chapman:

Paul and Marybellw Musco’s grandchildren, Alex and Gabby David, are alumni from Chapman’s arts program. Doti originally introduced the Muscos, along with William Hall, to Chapman 10 years ago at American Celebration. Their friendship blossomed over their passion for music and Chapman.

About his beneficiary:

Paul and Marybelle Musco donated $7 million to the construction of the William D. Hall and Marybelle and Sebastian P. Musco Conservatory of Music.

“The best part about having money is the good you can do with it,” said Paul Musco, in an interview with SoCal Insider. “I love sharing my good fortune.”

The arts center was named after the Muscos’ donation and William Hall’s legacy at Chapman as the founding dean and artistic director for the Center of the Arts. First announced in May 2009, the 1,100 seat concert hall broke ground in the summer of 2012, with an expected cost of $64 million. 

Much of Chapman’s growth is due to countless benefactors and philanthropists that have a connection to the university — be it through alumnae relations or a strong belief in what the school stands for.

Students do feel cared for by the donors, but do not stray from the idea that it also benefits them. “I think most of the Chapman donors care about the school,” said Casey Dick, a senior business major. “Of course having the recognition of having your name on a plaque and tax write offs are also a plus.”

Chapman earns great financial and academic support from donors, while the donors earn the feelings of benevolence and pride.

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