Valparaiso University alumnus Lesley “Les” K. Chapman ’77 has generously committed $1.1 million to support the University’s unrestricted endowment fund.

“I am proud to support Valparaiso University so it can continue to provide the same personal interaction with professors that I had as a Valpo student,” Chapman said. “The ability to stop by a professor’s office and just chat is a valuable part of the education process that is missing at many universities.”

A strong endowment is essential to the future of the University as it seeks to expand and build upon its core strengths. And, unrestricted gifts are among the most important support the University can receive as they combine the financial stability of an ongoing income source with the flexibility to meet pressing needs. Unrestricted giving enables University leaders to respond to unforeseen challenges, fund a program or scholarship that may not otherwise receive support or seize an opportunity that requires immediate funding not available in the operating budget.

“We are immensely grateful for Les’ continued support and commitment to the future success of Valparaiso University,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president of Valparaiso University. “In designating his gift to our unrestricted endowment fund, he reveals extreme dedication and faith in the University. Valpo is afforded ultimate flexibility to build upon its rich history and shape generations of students to come.”

Chapman earned a bachelor of science in chemistry from Valpo. He subsequently worked for nearly a decade at Bethlehem Steel Corporation, starting as a technician and advancing to supervisor of water and solid waste. In 1986, Chapman began a two-year career with Baker Environmental as an environmental engineer. He and his boss at Baker co-founded Industrial Environmental Management Consultants in 1991. Chapman is currently president and senior technical manager of OCS Environmental, an environmental consulting and technical services company he founded in 2005 along with three partners.

In addition to his commitment to the University’s unrestricted endowment, Chapman is a member of the Kretzmann Society, which recognizes Valpo donors who have established planned gifts. He has been an active member of the Chemistry Department Advisory Council since 2001 and will become a member of the College of Engineering National Council in spring 2017. Chapman’s on-campus engagement included a seminar he hosted in the 2015–2016 academic year on air dispersion modeling.

Support for unrestricted endowment is a priority of Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future, a $250 million endowment campaign focused on raising permanent support for student scholarships, faculty development and programs that prepare students for lives of leadership and service. The Campaign was officially launched on Sept. 23, 2016, and has raised more than $135 million.