Keck Foundation donates $21 million to name Chapman science and engineering center

Chapman received a $21 million donation from the Los Angeles-based W.M. Keck Foundation for its 145,000 square foot science center. The building will be named the Keck Center for Science and Engineering, President Daniele Struppa announced on Wilson Field Sept. 28.

“Chapman’s the home run of Orange County, and if you want to have your name on the best, and have the ‘Keck effect’ down here, you want to be at Chapman,” said the foundation’s CEO, Robert Day, during the announcement.

The building, which will be completed in fall 2018, will be one of several in Southern California named after the foundation, but the first in Orange County.

“I look at Orange County and look at where we want the Keck name, and there’s no close second. There’s only one: Chapman University in Orange County,” Day said during the announcement, which brought a crowd of more than 500.

The Keck Foundation, which is a philanthropic organization that supports science, engineering and medical research, as well as undergraduate education, has opened centers at the California Institute of Technology, Claremont McKenna College and the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, which was named in 1999.

The relationship between Chapman and the Keck Foundation results from a 25-year friendship between Day and President Emeritus Jim Doti.

“Most of those years when I served as president, we were focusing on film and starting a law school, but we weren’t noted for our sciences,” Doti said. “But, five years ago, when we started our strategic planning to focus on the sciences and to build this building, I finally went to (Day) and said, ‘You know, I think we’ve reached a point where we may be deserving of a Keck name,’ and we talked about it, and he agreed to it.”

The center will house classrooms for the Schmid College of Science and Technology, as well as the Fowler School of Engineering, which will open in fall 2020, Chapman Public Relations Assistant Bethanie Le told The Panther.

Schmid College Dean Andrew Lyon said the addition of this name to the school will bring attention to the school from a broader population.

“The Keck name is synonymous with transformative science and research across the country, and so that name then tells the world that Chapman has something that’s really quite special in science and technology,” he said. “The building is really allowing us to finally achieve the level of scientific infrastructure to accomplish the sorts of things that our faculty have already been working toward for years.”

Struppa said in a press release that the support from the Keck Foundation will help Chapman take its place “among the most established institutions in the country.”

“Having our most ambitious structure to date named for the W.M. Keck Foundation is a testament to the foundation’s commitment to science and engineering in the greater Southern California area,” Struppa said in a press release.

“Chapman is honored to be among other Keck beneficiaries in the region. The support from Keck will help us to take our place among the most established institutions in the country.”

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