Huell Howser

Huell Howser speaks to a broadcasting class at Chapman University, 2011.

ORANGE, Calif. (September 29, 2011) — California TV icon Huell Howser, who will be presenting a free talk in Chapman University’s Memorial Hall on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m., has announced that he will donate all current, past and future episodes of California’s Gold and all his other public television shows – VISITING…with Huell Howser, Road Trip with Huell Howser, California’s Golden Parks, California’s Missions and an array of others — to Chapman so that they can be digitized, put on the web and made available free to a worldwide online audience. 

Howser’s live public talk, “In Search of California’s Gold,” is open to all.  The talk will cover many of Howser’s adventures as the host of the series, the fascinating people he has met along the way, and the wonders of California that he has seen.  There will be an audience Q&A immediately following the talk.  More information: 714-744-7677 or www.chapman.edu/huellhowser.

The university is currently organizing the massive digitization process, and will announce at a later time when the shows will be available online.  Howser is also donating to Chapman between 250 to 300 boxes of material directly related to the series – papers, ephemera and memorabilia – as well as 1,800 books about California, all of which will be housed in the university’s Leatherby Libraries.

The Leatherby Libraries will display part of the Huell Howser collection in an exhibition that will open to the public on October 13 on the library’s second floor.  Audience members are invited to view the collection before or after the talk (the library is open until 2 a.m.).   The exhibition will remain on display through the rest of October.

“I’m so proud to have a permanent home for my life’s work at a university the caliber of Chapman, and I hope it will be used by students and the public to learn about and understand California even better,” said Howser.  “The idea of getting all the shows posted on the web so that everyone – not just students – can always access them for free is very appealing to me.” 

How did he make the initial contact with Chapman University?  “Chapman President Jim Doti sent me a letter  – at one point, he’d heard I’d been in Orange and was sorry he hadn’t been available, and invited me to visit Chapman whenever I was in the area,” said Howser.  “That really impressed me – in this hectic world, to get a personal letter signed by the university president!   That’s the kind of personal contact that resonates with me.   It got me thinking about the legacy of my work and how I wanted it to become available to a wider audience.  After visiting the university several times, Chapman just felt like a very comfortable place for me and my work – there’s nothing but positivity there, and there’s a great energy about learning and lots of plans for the future.  Everyone seems excited to be there.  It just felt like exactly where this collection should go.”

Howser plans to return to Chapman often in the coming months and years.  “I’ll be coming back to speak to history and film classes, to the Town & Gown support group and others.”  His first visit to Chapman classes will happen on Thursday, October 6. 

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