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Donors pledge $3 million to support new Whitworth endowment named in honor of alumnus, former board chair Charles L. Boppell

April 8, 2011
Gift will help support strategic initiatives in School of Global Commerce and Management

Trustees and other donors have made Whitworth history by pledging $3 million to help fund a new endowed dean position that will support strategic improvements in the School of Global Commerce and Management. It is the largest endowment of its kind within Whitworth University.

The Charles L. Boppell Dean of the School of Global Commerce and Management is named in honor of California restaurant executive Chuck Boppell and his wife Karlyn, who made a significant gift to help the endowment become a reality. Chuck Boppell is a 1965 alum, former longtime chair of Whitworth's Board of Trustees, and past president and CEO of Worldwide Restaurant Concepts. He and Karlyn, a 1967 Whitworth grad, also have made significant gifts for improvements to Whitworth's track, to the Robinson Science Hall, to a residence hall that bears their name, to a larger endowment for music scholarships, to the Lied Center for the Visual Arts, and to The Whitworth Fund.

The $3 million endowment for the dean of the SGCM was announced at a special event on Thursday, April 7, in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall. President Beck A. Taylor presented the Boppells with a plaque honoring their substantial contribution to the endowment.

"Chuck Boppell is a consummate Whitworthian. Four generations of his family have been affiliated with Whitworth and he has served the university as a student, alum, parent, donor, trustee, and, for 18 years, as chair of our board of trustees," President Taylor says. "In Chuck's career as a top executive for some of the world’s most recognizable restaurant brands, he also has been a model of success for our business students. It is an honor for Whitworth to recognize a great Whitworthian and a great businessman by establishing the endowment for the Charles L. Boppell Dean of the School of Global Commerce and Management."

Boppell has been a top executive with some of the most successful companies in the food and restaurant industry. After graduating from Whitworth with a degree in economics, he joined Saga Corp. and quickly rose through the management ranks. Beginning in 1977, he took senior leadership positions with some of the world's most recognizable restaurant brands, including Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Godfather's Pizza and Sizzler. When he retired as president of Worldwide Restaurant Concepts, the company owned and franchised more than 400 restaurants around the globe.

Boppell's grandfather supported Whitworth after his two sons attended the college in the 1920s. Both of Boppell's parents attended Whitworth, along with several aunts, uncles and cousins. Boppell, all of his siblings, and his wife-to-be, Karlyn, also attended the college. Their daughter, Tauni, graduated with the Whitworth Class of 1990.

It was Boppell's father, Carl, who discovered the 1927 fire that ravaged Ballard Hall, the university's second-oldest building and now a landmark women's residence hall. Carl Boppell served on Whitworth's board of trustees from 1944 to 1965 and was followed by his son, Charles, who joined the board in 1983 and served as its chairman from 1990 to 2008.

Trustees Art Symons, '51, and Dick Cole, '51, demonstrated leadership and vision by spearheading the effort to create the new endowment. They and fellow trustees and friends of Boppell raised $1.5 million to establish an endowed chair in business to honor his long tenure as board chairman. The Boppells adopted that vision and then expanded it by generously donating an additional $1.5 million to support the endowed dean position. Proceeds from the sale of an Iowa farm property donated by the Boppells will provide $1 million immediately to the endowment; an additional $500,000 will create a charitable gift annuity that will provide income to the Boppells for the rest of their lives before being transferred to the endowment.

"Endowment gifts commit resources to support the development of excellence in key programs, such as those in the School of Global Commerce and Management, for generations of students to come," says Michael Le Roy, executive vice president and dean of faculty at Whitworth. "Not only does this gift support business programs, but it acts as a harbinger of future gifts across Whitworth's academic programs. And it is fitting that such a significant gift of this kind honors Chuck Boppell for his service and generosity to Whitworth."

Robert C. Beatty was appointed dean of the SGCM in July 2010 and will be the first occupant of the Boppell endowed dean position. Beatty says the endowment will allow the school to make a number of significant program enhancements. Some of those enhancements include providing experiential learning projects for undergraduate and graduate students, increasing student placement opportunities and internship programs, supporting faculty development, and bringing executive lecturers to campus.

"The Whitworth School of Global Commerce and Management is very grateful for this generous gift from Chuck and Karlyn Boppell and other trustees and donors," Beatty says. "It is the largest contribution we have received in the SGCM and represents the kind of alumni support that is characteristic of the best business schools in the nation."

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Scott McQuilkin, vice president for institutional advancement, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4386 or

Nancy Hines, director of communications, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4638 or