Howard L. Chapman has distinguished himself as an accomplished lawyer, civic leader, and philanthropist.
Born in Chicago and raised in Monmouth, Illinois, he was awarded an academic scholarship and attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he received his undergraduate degree with a major in economics. He then attended Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, again after being awarded an academic scholarship, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1958. While in law school he served as an associate editor of the Northwestern Law Review and, upon graduation, was elected to The Order of the Coif, the legal scholastic honorary society.
Chapman began his career in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with the firm of Shoaff, Keegan and Baird, becoming a partner in 1963. He later co-founded the law firm of Bonahoom, Chapman and McNellis, which, in 1986, merged with Barrett, Barrett and McNagny to form the current firm of Barrett McNagny, one of Indiana’s oldest law firms, having been established in 1876. During this time, he conducted a thriving law practice, specializing in corporate, banking, real estate, and labor law. He served as a member of the executive committee of Barrett McNagny during 1986 and 1987. Since retiring from active practice, he continues his relationship as “Of Counsel” to the firm.
He has been admitted to practice before The Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and all state and federal courts of the State of Indiana. He served as a member of the boards of directors of Union Federal Bank of Indianapolis and Waterfield Mortgage Company, Inc., and was a longtime member of the Legal Issues Committee of the Mortgage Bankers of America. He is currently president of The Waterfield Foundation.
During the 1960s, he served as a board member and then president of the Association for Retarded Citizens of Northeast Indiana, the predecessor to the current Easter Seals ARC of Northeast Indiana, Inc. During his term as president, he oversaw the construction and operation of The Johnny Appleseed School, the first school in northeast Indiana dedicated to serving children with mental and emotional disabilities.
In 1975, Chapman started what was then known as The Fort Wayne Sister Cities Committee, charged with forming a sister city bond between Fort Wayne and a city in another country. This was conceived as a citywide project to participate in Fort Wayne’s celebration of the national bicentennial the following year. His committee successfully created a sister city relationship with Takaoka, Japan, a relationship that continues to flourish. Today the Fort Wayne Sister Cities Committee is succeeded by Fort Wayne Sister Cities International, Inc., which actively oversees Fort Wayne’s relationships with sister cities in Japan, Poland, Germany, and China, as well as a friendship city in Myanmar. In 2000, Chapman and his wife, Elizabeth (Betsy), established The Chapman Sister Cities Exchange Students Fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. This fund underwrites annual student exchanges between young people in Fort Wayne and its sister cities. The Fort Wayne sister cities program has been named by Sister Cities International as one of the country’s outstanding sister cities programs. In 2016, he was recognized by Sister Cities International at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., and presented with its International Volunteer of the Year award.
Over the years, Chapman has served a number of charitable and professional organizations. He has been president of The Allen County Bar Association, The Lincoln Museum, and First Presbyterian Church Foundation. His other past board memberships have included The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, United Way of Allen County, Defense Orientation Conference Association, and Community Harvest Food Bank. He is currently a member of the advisory board of IPFW’s College of Arts and Sciences, a trustee of The IPFW Foundation, and a member of the board of trustees of The Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust. He became a member of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Wayne in 1958, and has served as president of its board of trustees, and as an elder and member of its session.
In 2001, the Chapmans endowed the first professorship chair at Indiana University– Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), designated as The Chapman Distinguished Professor of English.
In 2007, they established The Chapman Scholars Program at IPFW. Chapman Scholars receive full four-year scholarships and may pursue any degree at IPFW. In 2013, the Chapmans donated additional funds to IPFW to enhance The Chapman Scholars Program, and to support the IPFW Honors Program. The Chapman Scholars Program originally funded four Scholars each year; however, in 2016, the Chapmans increased the endowment to provide scholarships for an additional Chapman Scholar. There are now five Chapman Scholars admitted to IPFW each year. These scholarships are based entirely on academic merit and community involvement and cover tuition, housing, and other fees and costs.
The Chapmans have each been awarded an honorary doctorate degree, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from Purdue University.
In addition to their philanthropic support of education at IPFW, the couple have also supported the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. There, they have established the Howard and Elizabeth Chapman Scholarship Fund, and have endowed a chair designated as The Howard and Elizabeth Chapman Professorship of Law. The Chapman Professor at Northwestern focuses on business law, trial advocacy, or wills and trusts.
Within the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, the Chapmans have created three additional funds—The John Chapman Fund supports agencies providing services to the mentally disadvantaged or physically disabled; The Chapman Arts Fund supports agencies involved in the graphic or performing arts; and The First Presbyterian Church Fund provides support for First Presbyterian Church of Fort Wayne.
Over the years, Chapman has been an avid golfer and tennis player. Other hobbies have included travel and bridge. He holds the rank of Life Master from the American Contract Bridge League.
The couple have two sons and three grandsons, all of whom make their home in Fort Wayne.
Elizabeth Waterfield Chapman, known to all of her friends as “Betsy,” was born and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended South Side High School, graduating with honors, and was elected to National Honor Society. In 2001, she received the Archer Award as an outstanding alumna of South Side.
She enrolled at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, where she met and married her husband, Howard. After pausing in her collegiate career to raise a family, she returned to the campus of what is now Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). At 39, she was awarded a B.A. in English by Indiana University.
Chapman is an accomplished musician and pianist who has shared her talent throughout Fort Wayne. She has been an accompanist for various vocal performers and singing groups. She has also provided the musical accompaniment for numerous musical productions produced at Arena Theatre, Fort Wayne Youtheatre, and First Presbyterian Theatre.
Her list of credits includes Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music," and Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate." With Nancy Carlson Dodd, she has co-authored three musical plays for children. One of these plays, "The Magic Pebble," has been published by the Samuel French Company. It, and the other two plays, "Mountain Molly" and "The Magnificent Plan," have been performed many times locally and nationally.
An active member of the IPFW community, Chapman served for many years on the Omnibus Lecture Series Committee, the organization charged with obtaining speakers and organizing programs in connection with the Omnibus Lecture Series that is presented annually at IPFW. She also served as a member of the board of trustees of The IPFW Foundation. As a director of Waterfield Mortgage Company, she was instrumental in the participation by that organization in funding IPFW’s on-campus housing. The Chapmans also endowed the first full professorship chair at IPFW, designated as The Chapman Distinguished Professor of English.
In 2004, the Chapmans were each awarded an honorary doctorate degree, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by Purdue University.
She has participated in numerous community and charitable organizations. She has served on the boards of directors of many of them, including the Fort Wayne Junior League, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Volunteers, the Fort Wayne Civic Theater, and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne. She has also been a director of Easter Seals ARC of Northeast Indiana, Inc., The Allen County Public Library Foundation, and The Waterfield Foundation. She is an advisory trustee of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. She has also served as a member of the advisory committee for IPFW’s College of Arts and Sciences, Fort Wayne Museum of Art Alliance, Morning Musicale, YWCA Advisory Board, Indiana Law Wives, Junior League Garden Club, Parents and Friends of the State Developmental Center, and three literary clubs. In addition, she has been an active and loyal supporter of her college sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.
Chapman has attended First Presbyterian Church of Fort Wayne since her childhood. She is a Jubilee Member (50-year member), and is an elder and former member of the session of that church. She has often contributed her musical talents for church services and church events, including providing musical accompaniment for religious services at nursing homes.
She is an avid reader and traveler, and has been an enthusiastic golfer and tennis player. She has a keen interest in and close relationship with Fort Wayne's Sister City Program, and values many close friendships among those she has met in exchanges with Fort Wayne's Sister Cities. The couple established the Chapman Exchange Students Fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne to provide assistance in academic and cultural exchanges between Fort Wayne and its Sister Cities. They have also established the Chapman Arts Fund, The First Presbyterian Church Fund, and the John Chapman Fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne to provide ongoing support to various charitable groups that serve the Fort Wayne area.
In 2007, the Chapmans endowed the Chapman Scholars Program at IPFW. This program originally provided a full scholarship for four years to four students each year. In 2016, the Chapmans provided additional funds to the Chapman Scholars Fund at IPFW, so that there are now five new Chapman Scholars admitted to IPFW each year. These scholarships are based entirely on academic merit and community involvement.
She and her husband have endowed the Howard and Elizabeth Chapman Law Scholarship Fund at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. In addition, in 2013, the couple endowed The Howard and Elizabeth Chapman Professorship of Law, also at Northwestern University School of Law. The Chapman Professor focuses on business law, trial advocacy, or wills and trusts.
The couple have two sons and three grandsons, all of whom make their home in Fort Wayne.