Timeline by Ronnie Kaufman, Art Director
President Jim Doti announced last Monday that he is stepping down as president of Chapman, effective Aug. 31, 2016.
In an email sent to the Chapman community, Doti wrote that Chancellor Daniele Struppa will become Chapman’s 13th president next year.
“It’s just time,” Doti told The Panther. “In my own career, I’m increasingly looking forward to going back to teaching. I’m thankful I still have my health, and I’m glad I’m the one who can be making the decision, rather than the board asking me to resign. It’s nice to go out on one’s own decision.”
Doti wrote in the email that Chapman will need to appoint a chief academic officer to replace Struppa. Doti and Cristina Giannantonio, faculty senate president, will create a search committee made up of trustees, faculty, staff and an academic dean. Chapman is enlisting the help of Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates, a recruiting firm that specializes in higher education.
“I think it’s healthy for a university to promote from within, but it will be a full search and we will look to bring in the best candidate we can,” Doti said.
Doti said that Struppa is a person of the “highest ethics and moral integrity.”
“I’ve worked with (Struppa) for the last 11 years,” he said. “I’ve grown to understand and know him. He understands and values Chapman’s culture. He’s the kind of person who treats people with respect and dignity.”
Struppa wrote in an email that his style of leading the university will be similar to Doti’s.
“I think there will be substantial continuity between President Doti’s administration and mine,” Struppa wrote. “I have been a central component of what Chapman has done over the last 10 years, so I don’t foresee any striking changes.”
The potential for a multicultural center
Doti is preparing monthly get-togethers with Struppa to talk about Struppa’s plans for the future. Some of these plans may include a multicultural center on campus, something Doti vowed would not happen as long as he was president.
“Jerry Price (vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students) and I have discussed and developed some concrete ideas around the notion of a cross-cultural center,” Struppa wrote. “I understand Dean Price is meeting with some student leaders to see how we can put our ideas and their thoughts together and find a way to move the institution in a positive direction.”
Improving Chapman’s relationship with Orange
Struppa also hopes to improve relations with the Orange community, steps that Doti and Price have started taking. Struppa aims to develop a plan with Chapman’s neighbors for the next several years.
“We have, of course, challenges, and those are going to be occupying a significant portion of my time in the first year,” Struppa wrote. “We need to work with the city to ensure it is comfortable with and supportive of our growth. Students can play a huge role there, by avoiding those behaviors that have embarrassed us in the past.”
Sandy Quinn, president of the Old Towne Preservation Association, agrees with Struppa that students can help solve some problems.
Quinn doesn’t think that Doti stepping down will affect Chapman’s relationship with the Old Towne Preservation Association or the Orange community.
“Doti has made sure that his successor (Struppa) will pick up that assignment and move it forward,” Quinn said. “It’s a particularly important time for Chapman and the community to resolve issues.”
However, Quinn said that he is pleased at how Chapman has handled these issues, and he has great respect for both Doti and Struppa.
“Doti’s legacy will always be the transformation of a small college into a major university with national ranking and respect,” Quinn said. “He has done his work and it’s been excellent.”
In his final year at Chapman, Doti said that he looks forward to seeing the completed Musco Center for the Arts and helping plan the new Center for Science and Technology.
Beginning next fall, he plans to return to teaching economics at Chapman and researching. Doti, who turned 69 on Sept. 26, has no plans to retire.
“I don’t consider leaving (my job as) president a demotion,” Doti said. “To return to the classroom and teach the students I love is a promotion.”
Doti became Chapman’s president in 1991 after teaching economics at Chapman since 1974. Doti is one of the longest-serving university presidents in the United States, according to a press release distributed last Monday afternoon. During Doti’s 25 years as president, the university has grown from 2,300 students to 8,000.
Veston Rowe, a professor at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, has worked at Chapman for the last 27 years. He and Doti worked closely on defining Chapman’s image.
“The Chapman that we know today would not exist without him,” Rowe said. “I think he certainly had a vision for the university. I think sometimes people are surprised that he was able to make that vision a reality.”
Doti said that this year will be tough for him, but there are events – including the opening of the Musco Center – that will be “momentous” in Chapman’s history.
“Doti will be a tough act to follow,” Rowe said. “I hope that (Struppa) has as much success with his vision of the institution. I think that if he can do what Jim Doti did, if he can keep building the success, it will be remarkable. There’s no doubt in my mind that he can.”
Pick up The Panther on Oct. 12 to read about a potential multicultural center on campus.
To read about Struppa’s goal for Chapman’s future that he addressed at the State of the Academy Address, click here.
To watch our Prowling Panther about Struppa taking over the presidency, click here.