On Friday, August 25, the Trinity University community gathered in front of the Chapman Fountain to celebrate the reopening of the Chapman Center with a rededication ceremony and a ribbon-cutting.
Formerly known as the Chapman Graduate Center and designed by architect O’Neil Ford, the building was first opened in Fall 1964 as one of the first major buildings of Trinity’s Centennial Program. Now, after a $33 million renovation, the Chapman Center’s reopening marks the completion of Trinity’s academic spine and another book added to the shelf of Trinity’s Campus Master Plan.
“The Chapman Center is still the same old storybook we know and love,” says Trinity President Vanessa B. Beasley, Ph.D. “Its spine, while creased and weathered, binds the interdisciplinary experience together. And now, this book, this building, is getting a new chapter. While there’s still some dust settling, we are extraordinarily proud to have brought this building online for the start of the 2023-24 academic year.”
Over the course of six decades, Chapman’s walls have been the pages of many stories from the Trinity community. And this fall, as it welcomes 1,351 students to its halls and 62 faculty and staff to its offices, these walls are ready to house all the stories yet to be written.
The Chapman Center is the new home for Trinity’s AACSB-accredited Michael Neidorff School of Business, which includes the Departments of Business Administration, Finance and Decision Sciences, and Accounting, and the Departments of Economics and Health Care Administration within the School of Social Science and Civic Engagement.
“The memories I have made with my faculty adviser, Dr. Mario Gonzalez-Fuentes, and my classmates in the Michael Neidorff School of Business and beyond have only strengthened my own story, which I am honored to add to the new chapter of the Chapman Center,” says Gabriela Salgado ’25, the emcee of the reopening ceremony and a student currently taking advantage of the renovated building.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests were welcomed to tour the building and enjoy refreshments (including a Chapman-themed cake!) and grab an on-site, screen-printed tote bag souvenir in the Korbell Great Hall.
“The beauty of the Great Hall has been restored, maintaining all of the original historical elements of the building while transforming it into a student-centered collaboration space that can be used to foster productive interdisciplinary collisions,” says Julie Persellin, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Accounting, who served as a faculty shepherd for the Chapman Center project. “We have classrooms that have been transformed into innovative labs that will facilitate cutting-edge data analytics and behavioral research. We have breakout spaces to facilitate student partnerships. We have designated health care administration and accounting graduate spaces that provide opportunities for teamwork and collaboration, as well as completely renovated faculty offices that help facilitate both faculty productivity and student interactions.”
In addition to the 12 computer labs, classrooms, and seminars where students will be answering questions and questioning answers in true Trinity fashion, the Trinity community can look forward to attending lectures in the Chapman Auditorium, such as the DeCoursey Nobel Economist Lecture Series.
The Chapman Center is ready for a new chapter of supporting student success, a chapter that couldn’t have been written without the chapters of generosity that came before it. “As I continue my journey at Trinity University, I am humbled by the decades of generosity that have come before me and the thoughtful innovations that fuel me, and future generations of students like me, through graduation and beyond,” Salgado says.
The Trinity community recognizes the generations of supporters, including The Chapman Trust of 1966, the Leta McFarlin Chapman Trust, and the entire Chapman family that followed Trinity from Tehuacana to Waxahachie to San Antonio and whose philanthropy encouraged us to establish roots of our own. Special thanks to Michael and Noémi Neidorff, John and Bonnie Korbell, the Biglari Foundation, Louise Chapman, Steve Mach, The Nancy Smith Hurd Foundation, Richard Calvert, Robert and Sue McClane, and Phil and Linda Wetz. Without these lead donors and so many others who contributed to this project, these renovations would not have been possible.
“Above all, this renovated space provides something much more intangible, and every bit as important: A true academic home for students and faculty that creates a sense of belonging and an excitement for learning to all who pass through its doors,” Persellin says. “It has been a true honor to play a small part in this amazing reimagination of Chapman.”