Chapman University is Growing in More Ways Than One

April 1, 2021 Updated: April 1, 2021

Chapman University’s efforts to revamp its campuses appear to be paying off with a record number of applications.

More than 15,000 incoming freshmen applied for enrollment this year, up from the 14,000 applications the school received in 2020.

The boost in applicants comes as Chapman moves forward with new developments its officials say will benefit the greater Orange County community.

During an April 1 event hosted by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, Chapman University President Daniele Struppa shared updates on the school’s new facilities.

The school broke ground on its Fowler School of Engineering, Swenson Family Hall at the Keck Center last June, and expects construction on the 40,000 square-foot facility to be complete in July.

The $19 million facility features an open space where faculty and students can interact in labs.

“This is going to be a spectacular institution,” Struppa said. “There is no great school in the nation that doesn’t have a strength in the science and engineering.”

New Art Museum and Dance Facility

Chapman’s Hilbert Museum and dance studio are being relocated to the forefront of the campus as part of an “artistic gateway to the city of Orange,” Struppa said.

“As you arrive in Orange, the first thing you’re going to see is this beautiful mural here, historical, preserve, and then this beautiful museum.”

The donor-funded museum will triple in size, and feature figurative art.

The Sandi Simon Center for Dance in downtown Orange is expected to double in size.

The project has a $21.2 million budget and is expected to be completed by June 2022.

Rinker Campus in Irvine

Chapman’s Rinker campus in Irvine is expected to begin renovations and construction of a new student center and Brain Institute expansion.

“We are completely redesigning it. Right now, it’s a bunch of buildings,” Struppa said. “We are really turning into a real campus.”

The university will add a parking structure that connects to the campus via a bridge above the main street, to provide students a safe walkway to campus.

A large running track will be built on top of the parking structure.

A tower with the Chapman symbol will be constructed to greet students as they cross the bridge.

“It’s not just about being beautiful, but it’s about trying to create an environment that is energizing,” Struppa said.

Construction is expected to begin in August and be completed by next March.

Struppa also mentioned plans for the future construction of a new residence hall to be built at the intersection between Chapman Avenue and Route 5.

“We’re committed to the city, and we want to honor that we’re going to house as many students as possible. Right now we are housing about half of our students.”

Rising in Rank

Chapman University was recently ranked 124 in the nation, landing the best spot it’s ever had.

“Keep in mind, there are about 3,000 institutions in the country, so number 124 is really good,” Struppa said.

“My board knows that my goal is to put us in that top 100.”