» Chapman University History Timeline

1861 -- Founded as Hesperian College in Woodland, CA.

1921 -- Became California Christian College in Los Angeles.

1925 -- Panther is designated as the official sports mascot.

1934 -- Re-named Chapman College in honor of benefactor Charles C. Chapman.

1954 -- Moved to present campus in the city of Orange, 35 miles south of L.A.

1958 -- Chapman College opens its first adult program at El Toro Marine Air Station.

1959 -- First on-campus residence halls open.

1961 -- Martin Luther King Jr. speaks on Chapman’s campus.

1965 -- Chapman acquires World Campus Afloat (now Semester at Sea).

1968 -- Annual giving tops $1 million for the first time.
Baseball team wins College World Series and is named National Champions for DII.

1977 -- School of Business and Management opens.

1978 -- Hutton Sports Center opens.
Chapman hosts its first Economic Forecast.

1979 -- The A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research is established.

1981 -- Dr. William Hall directs first American Celebration.

1991 -- Dr. James Doti becomes the 12th president of Chapman.
Chapman College becomes Chapman University.
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is established.

1992 -- Argyros Forum opens.

1994 -- Intercollegiate football returns to Chapman after a 62-year absence.

1995 -- School of Law opens (and receives full accreditation by ABA in 2002).

1996 -- School of Film and Television opens.

2001 -- College of Lifelong Learning becomes Chapman University College.

2002 -- Millennium Campaign raises more than $215 million.

2003 -- Baseball team wins College World Series and is named National Champions for DIII.

2004 -- Lawrence and Kristina Dodge donate $20 million to establish Dodge College of Film and Media Arts; Marion Knott donates $5 million to build Knott Studios; ground broken on Knott Studios complex.
Chapman celebrates 50 years in Orange County.
University hosts grand opening of four new buildings — the Leatherby Libraries, Fish Interfaith Center/Wallace All-Faiths Chapel, Oliphant Hall and Glass Residence Hall — on campus.

2007 -- Conservatory of Music and the Departments of Dance and Theatre unite to form the College of Performing Arts

2008 -- Dr. Vernon L. Smith, Nobel laureate, begins teaching at Chapman.
The Economic Science Institute is founded.
The Erin J. Lastinger Athletics Complex opens.

2010 -- Chapman theoretical physics professor Yakir Aharonov, Ph.D., receives the President's National Medal of Science.

2011 -- Civil rights activist, and University friend, Sylvia Mendez was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

2013 -- Rinker Health Science Campus opens in Irvine.
Chapman’s School of Pharmacy is established.
Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler donate $55 million to name the Dale E. Fowler School of Law.

2014 -- Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences is created.

2016 -- Hilbert Museum of California Art opens.
Musco Center for the Arts opens.
Daniele C. Struppa becomes Chapman University’s 13th president.

2017 -- School of Pharmacy launches its first cohort

2018 -- Keck Center for Science and Engineering opens.
Vidal Arroyo ’19, a first-generation student, becomes Chapman’s first Rhodes Scholar.

2019 -- Chapman launches chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
Chapman earns Carnegie Classification of R2: Doctoral University — High Research Activity.
Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler School of Engineering opens.
20th Anniversary of Argyros School honors Argyros family and hosts President George W. Bush.
U.S. News and World Report ranks Chapman University #125 in National University category.
Baseball team wins College World Series and is named National Champions for DIII.