RSU Names Baird Plaza for The Mary K. Chapman Foundation

The main entrance plaza at the new Baird Hall at Rogers State University has been named The Mary K. Chapman Plaza in honor of a gift from The Mary K. Chapman Foundation of Tulsa.

The Board of Regents for the University of Oklahoma, Cameron University and Rogers State University approved the naming of the plaza at its meeting Monday on the RSU campus in Claremore.

The announcement of the plaza’s name was made during a dedication ceremony for the newly expanded and renovated Baird Hall on Monday.

“The university is proud to name this grand space after Mary K. Chapman and is grateful to the foundation for its generous support,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice.

The Mary K. Chapman Foundation provided a gift of $500,000 for the plaza and the expansion and renovation of Baird Hall.

Jerry Dickman and Donne Pitman, co-executive managers and trustees of The Mary K. Chapman Foundation were honored at the dedication ceremony.

Built in 1952, Baird Hall has more than doubled in size and features classrooms with Smart Board technology, a communications and performance studio, writing and language labs, an outdoor amphitheater classroom, new art gallery and facilities for the RSU Honors Program.

“Baird Hall serves as a focal point and hub for RSU’s liberal arts programs and will be instrumental as we move forward with adding advanced degrees,” Rice said.

The new plaza is located on the southeast side of the building, facing the interior of the campus.

“The Mary K. Chapman Plaza will serve as a gathering place for RSU students and faculty and will serve as a prime location for outdoor activities,” Rice said. “The plaza is destined to become one of the most recognized and popular locations on the RSU campus.”

The Mary K. Chapman Foundation has provided a significant amount of support for RSU since 1993, including gifts to advance the development of its nursing program and Bartlesville campus.

The H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Charitable Trust and The Mary K. Chapman Foundations are private foundations, each formed as a perpetual entity in trust, that maintain endowments to fund charitable grants to public charities.

The trustees and staff that administer the foundations also provide public stewardship through service to charitable organizations and causes.

Though not limited geographically, most grants and public service are within Oklahoma. Grants to human services and civic and community programs and projects are primarily focused in the area of Tulsa.

H. Allen Chapman was born in Colorado in 1919. The son of Tulsa philanthropists, James and Leta Chapman, he lived most of his life in Tulsa where he was an independent oil and gas producer.

In 1976, he established the H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Charitable Trust, a perpetual charitable private foundation that was fully funded with a bequest from his estate when he died in 1979.

Mary K. Chapman was born in Oklahoma in 1920. She graduated from the University of Tulsa and worked as a nurse before her marriage to Allen Chapman in 1960.

After the death of her husband in 1979, Mary Chapman maintained her own personal charitable giving program. Before her death in 2002, she established The Mary K. Chapman Foundation, a charitable trust founded to perpetuate her own charitable giving program. The foundation was fully funded with a bequest from her estate in 2005.