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Western University,Chapman University End Talks on Possibility of Merger

by Rodney Tanaka

March 15, 2004

Read 2 mins

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

Southern California.

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

eventual merger.

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.””


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