It is with heavy heart and great admiration that the Chapman University Alumni Association announces the passing of one of its most faithful Panthers, Mrs. Barbara Parker, ’64.
Barbara and her husband Bill Parker, ’52, can definitely be described as the ultimate Chapman Sweethearts. The couple met while living in the dorms at Chapman. They married in 1949, and continued to live on campus in married student housing. Barbara discontinued her education temporarily while raising the couple’s children, but returned to Chapman 15 years later to complete a double major in teaching and art. Barbara and Bill became parents to 3 sons and were proud grandparents and great-grandparents.
In addition to her own children, Barbara was incredibly supportive of so many Chapman students whom she and Bill proudly “adopted” over the years. Barbara’s support of these young people was unwavering. She could be seen at their concerts and sporting events cheering them on and overheard talking about their educational accomplishments with great pride. Hundreds of Chapman students over the years were directly impacted by the love and support that Barbara showed them, inviting them to her home and cooking them home cooked meals.
Barbara was a fixture of the Chapman community. She could be found on campus nearly every day; attending classes just for fun, meeting up with her adopted students and volunteering her time to the University. She was an active member of the Alumni Board of Directors for decades before finally completing her service in 2020. She made such an immense impact during her time on the Board that she became one of the first members to be elected to an Emeritus position, allowing her to attend Board meetings whenever she was able and to continue to provide her valued voice to the Board’s decisions.
It could easily be said that Barbara single handedly convinced hundreds of prospective students to become Panthers as she volunteered for the Alumni Association at Admitted Students’ Preview Day every year. She extolled the virtues of becoming a Panther and promised to be there to guide and support students once they joined the Panther family. Barbara always kept that promise.
As a true testament to her love of Chapman, Barbara will be interred at the Chapman Columbarium located at Fish Interfaith Center. Not long ago when Barbara was interviewed about this decision, she stated that she wanted to remain in the “center of the action” on campus and always be surrounded by her Chapman Family. Barbara’s long-time support and engagement with her alma mater serve as a true inspiration to us all.
As President and Past Presidents of the Chapman University Alumni Board of Directors, and on behalf of the entire Chapman Family, we thank Barbara for her dedication, love and embodiment of the Chapman spirit.
Aaron Flewellen, ‘04, President
Connie Benson, ‘93, Past President
Akin Ceylan, ‘90, Past President
Jimmy Blalock, J.D. ‘09, Past President
Kelsey Flewellen, ‘05, Past President