In separate actions taken Wednesday, Feb. 12, the boards of trustees of

Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and Western University of Health

Sciences in Pomona, Calif. agreed to name task forces to explore the

possibility of merging the two universities and forming a combined

university that reflects the heritage of each.

In a joint statement, Western President Philip Pumerantz and Chapman

President James L. Doti said the exploratory action was being taken

because they believe one university that combines the considerable assets

and goals of the existing schools would be much stronger than the two

universities on their own.

Chapman is a 142-year-old, comprehensive university with 4,700 students on

its Orange campus. In addition to its wide-ranging undergraduate

programs, it offers graduate degrees in business and economics, law, film

and television, physical therapy, communication arts and education.

Western, with 1,400 students, is a 25-year-old graduate health sciences

institution that grants degrees in nursing, osteopathic medicine,

pharmacy, physical therapy and physician assistant studies and includes

the Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions. This August

it will welcome the inaugural class of its new college of veterinary

medicine, just the second veterinary school in California and the first

new one in the nation in 20 years.

Chapman President Doti said, “”Health care certainly will be one of the

most rapidly growing industries of the 21st century. This merger would

continue Chapman’s evolution from a regional liberal arts college to a

significant comprehensive national university. Joining with this dynamic

graduate university of health sciences would make our future even more

promising and increase our contributions to health care service.””

Western President Pumerantz said, “”By joining with Chapman, we will create

a new university that is unique in Southern California. It will be a

comprehensive, private university in a personalized setting that not only

provides a fine undergraduate education but also offers graduate degrees

in disciplines ranging from education and business to law and human and

veterinary medicine. It truly will be a special place.””

Both presidents stressed that what is being announced today is the

beginning of a process to determine whether the universities actually

should merge. That process is expected to take 10 to 12 months, they

said. During that time, teams from both universities will conduct due

diligence and explore in depth the pros and cons of a merger. The boards

of trustees of each university will make the final decisions.

“”We understand this is the first step of the journey,”” said Pumerantz, who

is the founding president of Western. “”Along the way, there will be bumps

in the road, and how we work together to surmount those bumps will tell us

whether we’re really good candidates for a merger.””

Said Doti, “”We are undertaking the exploration of this merger at a time

when both universities are strong financially and academically. That’s

the best time to contemplate a merger – when neither side has to do it.

Hence, we view this as a merger of equals. Our motivation is to create a

unique university that will attract outstanding faculty and students from

the region and around the nation.””

The idea for the merger arose last November as Chapman and Western held

talks about developing joint degree programs. President Doti raised the

question with President Pumerantz of whether he thought it would be

advantageous for the two universities to merge.

Western’s campus is located on 22 acres in downtown Pomona, about 24 miles

north of Chapman’s historic campus in Orange. The two presidents said no

consideration would be given to combining the university campuses. Other

matters, such as the name of the combined university, the organizational

structure and the makeup of the board of trustees will have to be

determined during the exploratory period, they said.

Today’s announcement was made in Orange, where President Doti introduced

President Pumerantz at the conclusion of his annual state-of-the-

university address, and then at a news conference in Pomona.