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How a USD alum and his family give back through the gift of travel

How a USD alum and his family give back through the gift of travel

“When I stepped out onto the balcony of my deSalles Hall (now Maher Hall) dorm at sunset, I instantly felt connected on a visceral, emotional, and spiritual level. I had an amazing time at USD. It helped form who I am as a person.”

Greg Chapman ‘92 has loved traveling and exploring world views since he was an international relations undergraduate at USD.

Greg’s wife, Kristin, remembers the beauty of campus in the early years of their relationship: “How did you ever go to class? It’s so tempting to be outside and on the beach.”

Unlike her studies at a larger university, Kristin remembers that Greg’s USD experience gave him unique access to professors for a more intimate university experience. Greg says, “as a student, when I first met with an advisor, I mapped out my four years. It felt doable and student-centric. They asked how they could support me to be my best self.”

Better together: building a foundation

Together, Kristin, a pediatrician, and Greg combined their love for travel and caring for children to create the Chapman Family Foundation, which supports children around the world through investment in education and physical and mental health. Among many global causes, they’re committed to assisting Nepalese girls in obtaining education, mentoring and community support, and the overall health of South African children who have been orphaned by parents who have died of AIDS.

When they sought to expand their foundation’s reach, they say that the College of Arts and Sciences at USD fit well into the foundation. Greg proudly remembers the College’s focus on global and international learning, then and now.

“How do we train future global leaders? The best way to do that is by giving students experiences and opportunities to be future global leaders. USD is connected to the Pan-Pacific arena and geographically, to the world.”

In fact, USD is ranked second in the U.S. for undergraduate participation in study abroad programs. 

“Traveling with the support of the university as an undergraduate was a defining moment of my education. If the university wasn’t supportive of the program, I would’ve never gone. It was that supportive of a school,” Greg says. “A lot of students are afraid they’re going to miss out while studying abroad — it’s going to be nothing compared to the experience you get while traveling.”

Learning beyond the walls of campus

The Chapman’s interest led them to support the College in building a program that expands the international breadth and scope of the College — from hiring vibrant faculty and assisting students in educational travel experiences.

“We want to create an opportunity for all students, regardless of means, to have the same opportunity. Especially underrepresented students who think it may not be possible.”

The Chapman’s gifts to the College have supported Semester at Sea, where Greg is currently Chairman of the Board, and have fully funded many students’ study abroad experiences, including underrepresented and first-generation students.

Through giving to the College, “we’re creating leaders that have a wide-open lens to how interconnected the world is. Personally, we’ve seen the impact travel can have on our own children,” Kristin says.

Visit College of Arts and Sciences Giving to learn more about the numerous opportunities for supporting students in their studies.

— College of Arts and Sciences

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