Chapman gets $55M donation, renames school

Chapman University’s law school will change its name after it received a $55 million donation from a real estate developer, the second largest one-time gift to a law school on record. The law school will be named The Dale E. Fowler School of Law.

“This is one of the greatest gifts to any law school in the history of the United States," said Tom Campbell, dean of the law school. "Our best research has determined that this is the second largest reported single gift to an American law school. For our law school, it is the most definitive statement possible that we are here to stay and to prosper. We can now make long-term plans for how we will continue to provide top quality legal education many years into the future. The Dale E. Fowler School of Law can reinforce its commitment to practical legal training, to hiring new professors from the top ranks of academics and practitioners across the country, and to helping make the cost of law school more affordable for its students."

Chapman founded its law school in 1995. 

Other universities have also recently changed the name of their law school after receiving a large donation. University of Maryland received a $30 million donation from the W.P. Carey Foundation and changed its name to the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in 2011. Hofstra University received a $20 million gift from a pharmaceutical tycoon a renamed the law school the Maurice A. Deane School of Law in 2011. Indiana University School of Law — Indianapolis changed its name to the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in recognition of an alumnus who donated $24 million to the public school in 2011. With matching funds, the total value of the gift reached $31.5 million.

James Rogers made donations to the University of Arizona that added up to more than $130 million, and led to that institution naming itself the James E. Rogers College of Law in 1999. One of the donations was for $80 million. Thomas Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers, donated more than $100 million to Ave Maria School of Law through his Ave Maria Foundation. Marquette University Law School received a $51 million donation from Ray and Kay Eckstein that helped it build a new building that opened in 2010. 

“It has been very gratifying to come to know Dale and Ann Fowler,” said Chapman University President James L. Doti.  “As I reflect on their business successes and even more their transformative philanthropic contributions not only to Chapman but to higher education, I am even more proud that the Fowler name will forever be connected with our law school."

Dale Fowler is an Orange County native and Chapman alumnus. He began his real estate career while finishing his college studies, and built a successful business in industrial property development. 

“My wife and I are overjoyed to have made this gift to the law school at Chapman,” said Fowler.  “As a Chapman alumnus, I’m honored to be able to have an impact on generations of students to come. We are also proud that our son Jeffrey and daughter Kathryn are graduates of Chapman University, evidencing the continuity of our family’s relationship with the university. We are enthusiastic about the law school’s commitment to creating a positive atmosphere for business in all its realms of influence."