After a year’s exploration on the possibility of merging Chapman
and Western Universities, both institutions have agreed to end merger
talks. In February 2003, the two universities announced they would begin
discussions about the possibility of a merger.
Board, faculty, administration, and staff exchanges began between
the two universities in a burst of energy immediately after the original
announcement. Both formed task forces to identify the major issues
involved in combining the two universities. WesternU is a graduate
university, while Chapman is a comprehensive university, and there is
almost no duplication in programs. The universities are fiscally
healthy, growing, vital campuses in the higher education community in
During the talks, several issues surfaced that became important
to both institutions. Governance, the composition of a new board of
trustees, and the name of the new university became sticking points.
Ongoing discussions between the universities have not been able to
resolve those issues.
A factor that was raised by WesternU was the recommendation from
its task force that programmatic partnerships be established to see if
the two institutions would be a good fit as a first step toward an
Philip Pumerantz, president of WesternU said, “”While there are
merits to a merger with Chapman, the challenges associated with the
completion of such a transaction and the integration of these two
distinct and great cultures is more than we want to pursue.””
Pumerantz went on to say, “”After careful review, we have decided
that the fundamental restructuring of our university that would appear
necessary to combine with Chapman University to form a new entity would
not work at this time.””
Chapman University President James L. Doti said, “”It has been
great having this opportunity to work with a terrific team at Western.
While our exploration of a merger is ending at this time, I’m hopeful
that links will continue to be developed between Chapman and Western.””