Helen and John D. Chapple moved to Potsdam from Indiana in the summer of 1965 after John accepted a position at Clarkson. At that time, neither of them would have guessed that 25 years later, when John retired and was named dean of admissions emeritus at Clarkson, he would be responsible for recruiting more than 75 percent of Clarkson's alumni.
Nor did they know that Helen would be named director of college relations, becoming the first woman to attain that high of a reporting level at Clarkson.
Helen and John's longtime service and dedication to higher education so impressed their son, John H., that he eventually became chair of the board of trustees at his alma mater, Syracuse University.
Now, in memory of his late father and in honor of his mother, Chapple has established the John D. and Helen Chapple Endowed Scholarship Fund with a gift of $300,000 to Clarkson. Income from the fund will provide annual scholarships to graduates of Potsdam Central High School who excel academically, as well as demonstrate financial need.
"When my dad began serving as director of admissions at Clarkson College of Technology in 1965, none of us realized the profound impact that the college would have on our lives," says Chapple.
Chapple notes that his father was pleased and proud to be named dean of admissions emeritus after 25 years of successful service, when a serious illness forced his retirement.
"My mom joined Clarkson in 1974 as a development officer and was named director of college relations in 1980," says Chapple. "She later went on to serve as director of college relations at her alma mater, SUNY Potsdam."
Chapple says that his parents worked closely together on many projects, with the most notable being the full production of a videotape about Clarkson that received a Gold Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Higher Education. "They both had a deep commitment to higher education with particular loyalty and devotion to Clarkson."
"We are very grateful to John and his family for choosing to honor his parents in a way that will benefit so many future graduates of both institutions," says Clarkson University President Tony Collins. "As a parent of four Potsdam Central High School graduates and as a colleague and friend of Helen and John, I am well aware of their many contributions to the University and to our community. It is truly fitting that they be honored in this way."
Chapple selected Potsdam Central graduates as beneficiaries of the scholarships because of his positive experience at the institution.
"My four siblings and I all attended Potsdam Central High School, where we received good preparation for college, made lifelong friends and knew classmates who would have benefited greatly from a Clarkson education, but couldn't afford to attend," says Chapple. "Giving Potsdam Central students first eligibility for these scholarships will help students from our high school alma mater, while showing appreciation for Clarkson University, as well as my parents."
In 1994, Helen and John moved to Cape Coral, Fla., where they lived until John's death in 2003. Helen now resides outside of Seattle in Issaquah, Wash., near her sons, John and Paul, and daughter Clare.
John H. Chapple is president of Hawkeye Investments in Kirkland, Wash., and former chairman, CEO and president of Nextel Partners Inc. A 1975 graduate of Syracuse University, he has served as board of trustees chair since 2008.
In memory of his late father and in honor of his mother, John H. Chapple has established the John D. and Helen Chapple Endowed Scholarship Fund with a gift of $300,000 to Clarkson University.