Cal State Dominguez Hills received gifts $1.725 million from Prof. Lyman Chaffee
A $1.725 million bequest from a former Cal State University, Dominguez Hills professor who died in April is the largest ever received from a former faculty member and will be used to establish the school’s first endowed chair position and fund several scholarships.
The donation from the 49-year Hermosa Beach resident and Prof. Emeritus of Political Science Lyman Chaffee will largely be used to establish the L.G. Chaffee Endowed Chair of Global and Comparative Politics. Another $225,000 will fund several scholarships that will enable political science majors to study abroad.
Studying political science was the impetus for Chaffee becoming a world traveler who visited more than 70 countries. He became an expert on international politics, with a particular interest in South America, Spain, and Portugal, said his sister, Marta Stang.
“When he was young, Lyman spent a year in Spain that had a real impact on him,” she said. “It introduced him to the many benefits of international relations and travel and how important it is for students to experience it, particularly those interested in politics.
“That first trip to Spain continued to influence him and led to his conviction that student travel not only broadens a person’s understanding of the world, but also the issues faced by different countries and their cultures,” she added.
Chaffee was a former director of CSUDH’s International Programs and resident director of the CSU International programs in Spain.
His brother, David Chafee, said Lyman Chaffee was more interested in sports than academics growing up, until an influential professor at Occidental College inspired his interest in politics.
A keen observer of the stock market, he bought his first shares in a company while still in high school and took financial management seriously for the rest of his life.
“It’s the kind of thing he wanted to do,” David Chaffee said. “He planned a long time for this. And he was an astute investor,”
CSUDH President Willie J. Hagan said Chaffee’s gift exemplified the “selfless expression of what it means to be a Toro.
““In my years as president, what has stood out to me most about this campus is its strong sense of community,” Hagan said. “This gift is a testament to that dedication, to the commitment our faculty and staff have to our mission and the students we serve.”
Chafee joined Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1969 and retired in 2005. In between, he served as chair of the Department of Political Science for several years and was honored with the university’s Outstanding Professor Award for his commitment to students.
“I am humbled by it,” said David Chafee of his brother’s generosity and commitment to allow students passionate about international politics to study abroad. “He has gone out of his way to make a donation that the university says is ground-breaking for them.”