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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Howard Chapman, middle, meets with Chapman Scholars, from left, Erik Tom, Caleb McQuillin, Kevin Villela and Patricia Weiss at IPFW on Tuesday.

Donors swell IPFW gift by $1.5 million

– A $1.5 million donation from two local philanthropists will benefit IPFW’s Honors Program and Chapman Scholars Program, school officials announced Tuesday.

The donation from Howard and Elizabeth Chapman is in addition to an existing $3 million the local civic leaders pledged.

The Chapman Scholars Program was created in 2009 and provides a full-ride scholarship to four IPFW students each year.

The first $1 million will be used to benefit future Chapman Scholars.

The remaining $500,000 will be used to renovate a space in the university’s library designated for the Honors Program where students can gather and study.

“We are extremely grateful for this gift and the opportunities this creates to inspire, challenge, and celebrate our outstanding students,” IPFW Chancellor Vicky Carwein said.

The $1.5 million gift brings the Chapmans’ total donation to $7 million, officials said.

Linda Ruffolo, executive director of Development, said the financial gifts from the couple have affected not only academics, but the university’s athletics and music departments, among others. The couple’s $7 million total donation is among the university’s largest gifts, she said.

In addition to the Chapman Scholars Program, the couple have also donated money to endow the Chapman Distinguished Endowed Professorship in the Department of English and Linguistics and the Chapman Exchange Students/Sister Cities Fund.

“This was an easy choice for us to support IPFW,” Howard Chapman said. “…When we got started our goal was we wanted to bring students to this campus that would have other options and might have not come here if were we not able to entice them.”

Elizabeth (Betsy) Chapman is a graduate of IPFW.

The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, fees, room and board and textbooks for four years. Each year, four incoming freshmen are selected for the scholarship.

“We wanted the choice to be on merit – whatever the financial situation of the student might be considered – but the main thing was we wanted the best and brightest,” he said.

And although students are selected for their high academic achievement, they are also encouraged to participate as leaders at IPFW and in their communities, he added.

“We wanted them to be significantly involved in our community so that when they graduate, they will feel that IPFW is their school and Fort Wayne is their town,” Chapman said.

The scholarship fund benefits students like Sri Dasari, an IPFW senior who received the Chapman Scholar award in 2010.

Dasari is studying biology, pre-medicine, physics with a biomedical concentration and mathematics.

When he began his search for an undergraduate university, Dasari said his parents asked if he wanted to study in India for a faster track to his future.

Dasari said Tuesday that being selected as a Chapman Scholar changed his plans and gave him an opportunity to remain in the Fort Wayne community.

“It’s been an incredible experience, and I have (the Chapmans) to thank for that,” Dasari said.