Chapman University has announced a $21 million gift from the W. M. Keck Foundation for enhancement and elevation of Chapman’s science and engineering programs. The gift names the University’s soon-to-be completed science building on its main campus – The Keck Center for Science and Engineering. Nationally recognized for supporting outstanding science and engineering and medical research, this gift marks the largest commitment from the Keck Foundation in Orange County.

Officials unveiled the news during a special ceremony at Chapman on Thursday, Sept. 28.

“Having our most ambitious structure to date named for the W.M. Keck Foundation is a testament to the Foundation’s commitment to science and engineering in the greater Southern California area,” said Chapman University President Daniele Struppa. “Chapman is honored to be among other Keck beneficiaries in the region. The support from Keck will help us to take our place among the most established institutions in the country.”

The W. M. Keck Foundation has contributed significantly throughout Southern California to scientific and medical research and education with its grants, including those to the Keck School of Medicine at USC; the Keck Institute of Space Studies at the California Institute of Technology; the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences at the Claremont Colleges; and grants for outstanding projects at UCLA. The Chapman gift will increase its scientific footprint in the region.

“For more than 60 years, the W.M. Keck Foundation has been investing in high-impact scientific endeavors,” said Robert Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, of the W. M. Keck Foundation.

“Given Chapman’s incredible growth in STEM-related fields, we are proud to partner with Chapman to build a center to serve exceptional students and scholars for generations of scientific advancements. We look forward to what the University will accomplish with these new facilities.”

Since 1996, the Foundation has given $2.45 million to the University, including $1 million to name the W. M. Keck Foundation Chemistry Suite in the new Center for Science and Engineering.

“I am so pleased with our strong relationship with the Keck Foundation,” said President Emeritus James L. Doti. “As we move forward with the Keck Center for Science and Engineering, we will do all we can to make sure it is a tribute to the Keck Foundation’s incredible legacy.”

“This path breaking gift will not only transform Chapman University, but it will also benefit Orange County by helping to grow a more skilled, technology-oriented workforce that is in high demand,” said Glenn Pfeiffer, provost, Chapman University.

Scheduled to open in fall 2018, the Keck Center for Science and Engineering is the largest and most expensive building in the University’s history. The $130 million, three-story building will cover 140,000 square feet, and be the new home for Chapman’s Schmid College of Science and Technology.

architectural rendering

A rendering of the new Keck Center for Science and Engineering.

The 2.25 acre complex will consist of two halls—the Hall of Science and the Hall of Engineering— connected by a dramatic archway entrance that is in keeping with the Prairie-style architecture of Old Towne Orange. The Keck Center will feature:

  • 18 teaching labs and 22 research labs for a total of 40 labs;
  • a computational and data sciences active learning classroom with a supercomputing room;
  • 6 unique collaboration areas for students and faculty;
  • numerous research/study suites and seminar/conference rooms;
  • 47 faculty offices and a faculty lounge;
  • the dean’s administrative suite;
  • high-tech equipment to support molecular biology, microbiology, organic and physical chemistry, biogeochemistry, environmental sciences, computer science, and materials science
  • a graduate student lounge; and
  • an outdoor amphitheater.

“There is no more prestigious name Chapman could put on its science building then that of the Keck Foundation,” said Andrew Lyon, Ph.D., dean of Chapman’s Schmid College of Science and Technology. “The Keck name is synonymous with science innovation and discovery and will add tremendous momentum to the sciences at Chapman.”

Chapman’s Keck Center will be a place where undergraduates can pursue foundational sciences, such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, environmental science, mathematics, physics, software engineering, and computer science, among others, to set them on a pathway for careers in healthcare, technology, research and science policy. In addition, the Keck Center will provide a pipeline for graduate level degree programs in areas such as food science, and computational and data sciences.

See highlights of the ceremony and a hard-hat tour

This naming gift follows in the steps of other major announcements from Chapman in recent years dedicated to growth in science. In February of this year, Chapman University received its largest reported gift ever —a $100 million commitment from Dale and Sarah Ann Fowler. The new funding from the Fowlers is earmarked for the future Fowler School of Engineering.

In 2014, Chapman opened the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus. This new Irvine campus houses the Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences graduate programs (including a new Physician’s Assistant Program) and Chapman’s School of Pharmacy — the first in Orange County.

Watch the entire Keck-Chapman ceremony online.