It’s been 20 years since Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law moved into the building that is now known as Donald P. Kennedy Hall. While that’s an impressive milestone worth celebrating, the law school has never been content to rest upon its laurels, and the same goes for its iconic home in the heart of Orange, California.
As Kennedy Hall crosses the two-decade mark, the Fowler School of Law is finding ways to innovate within the 133,000-square-foot building, to continuously improve the physical experience for students, faculty, and guests.
“We are always looking for ways to keep Kennedy Hall one of the best and most up-to-date law school buildings in the country,” said Fowler School of Law Dean Matt Parlow.
One such upgrade to the building taking place this summer is the construction of the new Center for Student Engagement on the third floor, directly across from the Dean’s Suite. Made possible by Chapman University capital funding and a generous donation by Fowler School of Law Board of Advisors Chairman Park Kennedy, this new one-stop shop will house the law school’s Career Services, Student Affairs, and Academic Achievement offices.
“We hope that by bringing these different areas together we can build on creative synergies that will help us achieve greater levels of personalized student support, engagement, and success,” Parlow said.
In addition to providing new offices, meeting spaces and interview rooms, the Center for Student Engagement will bring a light, modern feel to the third floor of Kennedy Hall, allowing more natural sunlight to flow through that suite—making it open and inviting to students and employers alike.
Another renovation project designed to improve the student experience at the law school is a remodel of the first-floor Bergener Mirejovsky Student Lounge. Already a popular destination for students to recharge and refuel between classes, the remodeled student lounge will feature a more open floor plan, including a more organic connection to the James M. Bergener Game Room, and provide more functional kitchen space—as well as all-new flooring, light fixtures and furniture.
The Fowler School of Law Student Bar Association (SBA) approached school administration about updating the student lounge, and both students and administrators worked together to create a new design that reflected the students’ vision for the space. Law school leadership found the designs for the finished project so compelling that Parlow offered to use fundraised dollars to cover the difference between the SBA’s budget and the entire budget for a whole-scale renovation.
Other recent projects have included a high-tech renovation of the Wylie A. Aitken Trial Courtroom and an updating of the Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library, which started last year with lowered book stacks and new furniture and will continue later this year with fresh carpets for the heavily used space.
“We look forward to having these exciting, new spaces to support our students’ success,” said Parlow.