Fowlers’ $45 million donation makes the couple Chapman University’s largest donors at $100 million

ORANGE A $45 million donation to Chapman University will go toward establishing an engineering school, President Daniele Struppa announced on Friday during his first State of the University address.

That donation, by Dale and Sarah Ann Fowler, pushes the couple’s donations to his alma mater to more than $100 million – making the couple the biggest overall donors to the university, and likely to Orange County higher-education.

In 2013, they gave $55 million to the university’s law school, which carries the family name.

An engineering school has long been the goal of Struppa, going back to his days as Chapman’s chancellor. In recent years, the university has focused on shoring up its science programs.

When Struppa took the reigns as president from Jim Doti over the summer, he decided the time was right to revisit the idea of moving forward on a plan to get an engineering school.

“There is a tremendous demand in California and in the country for people with highly technical degrees,” Struppa said. “This is really going to open up a brand new group of students that will be coming to Chapman.”

The school still needs to go through the approval process, but Struppa said he expects it to open in 2019 or 2020.

Chapman’s new engineering school will be established on campus inside of Chapman’s upcoming Center for Science and Technology, the $130 million three-story building under construction off of Center Street.

Struppa said the $45 million could go toward an endowment for the new school. A name hasn’t yet been decided for the school, but Struppa said that it will include the Fowler name.

Dale Fowler graduated from Chapman with a degree in economics in 1958. In his senior year, he scraped together what money he could to buy some land in Huntington Beach. He took out a loan to build a handful of apartments, then sold the land for a tidy profit a few years later.

He went on to found Fowler Properties, a real estate investment and…

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