Howard and Elizabeth (Betsy) Chapman have made a deep and far-reaching impact in the Fort Wayne, Indiana community. They are considered by many to be role models for volunteerism and citizenship.
The Chapmans established the Chapman Scholars Program to incorporate civic engagement with outstanding scholarship opportunities.
In addition to the Chapman Scholars Program, the Chapmans have donated funds to endow the Chapman Distinguished Endowed Professorship in the Department of English and Linguistics and the Chapman Exchange Students/Sister Cities Fund.
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 the firm of Barrett, Barrett and McNagny, to form the current firm of Barrett and McNagny, which is one of Indiana’s oldest law firms, having been established in 1876. During this time he conducted a thriving law practice, specializing in the fields of corporate, banking, real estate and labor law. He served as a member of the Executive Committee of Barrett and McNagny during 1986 and 1987, and, since retiring from active practice, 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 of Waterfield Mortgage Company, Inc., and was a long time member of the Legal Issues Committee of the Mortgage Bankers of America. He is currently the President of The Waterfield Foundation.
During the 1960’s, 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 the task of 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 of the United States in the following year. His committee was successful in creating 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. The Fort Wayne sister cities program has been named by Sister Cities International as one of the country’s outstanding sister cities programs.
Over the years Chapman has served a number of charitable and professional organizations. He has been the 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 the College of Arts and Science at IPFW. 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 the year 2001 Howard Chapman and his wife, Elizabeth (Betsy), established the first endowed professorship chair at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), designated as The Chapman Distinguished Professor of English. In 2007 the Chapmans established the Chapman Scholars Program at IPFW, providing full four year scholarships to four students each year. These scholarships are based entirely on academic merit and community involvement, and cover tuition, housing and other fees and costs. In 2013 they donated additional funds to IPFW to enhance The Chapman Scholars Program, and to support the IPFW Honors Program. In 2004, Howard and Elizabeth Chapman were each awarded an honorary doctorate degree, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from Purdue University.
In addition to their philanthropic support of education at IPFW, the Chapmans have also supported the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois. 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 will focus on business law, trial advocacy, or wills and trusts.
Within the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne the Chapmans have created three 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 Chapman Sister Cities Exchange Students Fund underwrites annual student exchanges between young people in Fort Wayne and its sister cities.
Howard and Betsy 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 Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). At the age of thirty-nine, she was awarded her Bachelor of Arts degree in English by Indiana University.
Betsy is an accomplished musician and pianist who has shared her talent in many parts of the Fort Wayne community. 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 such works as 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, both locally and nationally.
An active member of the IPFW community, Betsy has served for many years on the Omnibus Lecture Series Committee, the organization charged with responsibility for obtaining speakers and organizing programs in connection with the Omnibus Lecture Series that is presented annually on the IPFW campus. As a director of Waterfield Mortgage Company, she was instrumental in the participation by that organization in funding the on-campus housing that has been constructed at IPFW. She and her husband also endowed the first full professorship chair at IPFW, designated as The Chapman Distinguished Professor of English.
In 2004, Betsy was awarded an honorary doctorate degree, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by Purdue University.
She has been a participant in numerous community and charitable organizations. She has served on the board 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 the College of Arts and Sciences at IPFW, 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.
Betsy has attended First Presbyterian Church of Fort Wayne since her childhood. She is a Jubilee Member (fifty 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 persons she has met in exchanges with Fort Wayne's Sister Cities. She and her husband have established the Chapman Exchange Students Fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne in order to provide assistance in academic and cultural exchanges between Fort Wayne and its Sister Cities. In addition, she and her husband have established the Chapman Arts Fund and the John Chapman Fund within the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne in order to provide ongoing support to various charitable groups that serve the Fort Wayne area.
In 2007, Betsy and her husband endowed the Chapman Scholars Program at IPFW. This program provides a full scholarship for four years to four students each year. These scholarships are based entirely on academic merit and community involvement. In addition, in 2013, she and her husband created The Howard and Elizabeth Chapman Professorship of Law at Northwestern University School of Law, in Chicago, Illinois. The Chapman Professor will focus on business law, trial advocacy, or wills and trusts.
Betsy and Howard have two sons and three grandsons, all of whom make their home in Fort Wayne.