» Fahmy Attallah Bust

“Oh traveler of the joyous journey! Exalt the day. Extol the way.”

- Fahmy Attallah

Critical Essay By
Reverend Nancy Brink
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
View Bio

Fahmy Attallah was a generous benefactor and patron of Chapman University.

Fahmy was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, and graduated from Cairo University. He was an accomplished athlete, excelling in long-distance swimming. A sixty-kilometer swim that took forty-one hours qualified him for team Egypt at the 1948 London Olympics.

Meanwhile, Fahmy held a government job in his native Egypt for nearly 20 years. Finally tiring of his desk job, he decided he needed to train for a new profession, so he left home to go to school in England. Hating the cold there, he looked for a school with a great psychology program and great weather—that led him to the University of Southern California, where he got a doctorate in clinical psychology and psychoanalysis.

It was in his role as a psychologist and guidance consultant for the Cypress, Westminster and Whittier school districts that Fahmy met a new teacher, Donna Ford. Donna had recently graduated from Chapman and was in her initial year of teaching. Fahmy quickly asked her out and began talking about their future together on their second date! They were married in 1962.

Rather than taking a European tour as a honeymoon, the couple bought their first apartment building and continued to purchase apartments in the Long Beach area. It is that ongoing investment that has allowed their incredible gifts to Chapman.

Fahmy was generous in his service to the community. He was a commissioner on the Board of Health and Human Services in Long Beach and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles County Mental Health Association. He worked to support persons seeking to escape addiction and gangs as well as those who live with disabilities.

Fahmy was distressed that his own alma mater, USC, had dropped their affiliation with the Methodist Church. He wondered aloud to Donna, “You don’t suppose that Chapman would do that, do you?” It was that question that led to their first major Chapman gift, establishing the Donna (Ford) and Fahmy Attallah Endowed Director of Church Relations. It is this position that maintains direct ties with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who founded Chapman. Generous gifts to the Leatherby Libraries soon followed.

Fahmy died in 2005 after a long illness. Donna memorialized her husband with the gift that created Attallah Piazza. On the four pillars of the fountain at the center are quotes from Fahmy’s book, Beauty of Being: Psychological Tips for Holistic Wellness of the Person as a Whole—Mind, Body, Spirit and Soul.

Next time you are in the Attallah Piazza, appreciate Fahmy’s wisdom as you circle the fountain.

Collection of Historical Figures Map

View the map locations of the Collection of Historical Figures statues located throughout the Chapman campuses.

Fahmy Attallah bust


The Donna (Ford) ’61 and Fahmy Attallah, Ph.D. Endowed Chair in Church Relations

Miriam Baker

Campus Location
Leatherby Libraries, Orange Campus