Professor Arthur Chapman died of a heart attack Monday. -Courtesy Photo
Professor Arthur Chapman died of a heart attack Monday. -Courtesy Photo
Emeritus professor of architecture Arthur “Art” Chapman died Monday from a heart attack. Chapman was on his daily morning walk when he suffered the heart attack, according to an email sent out by architecture department chair Henri de Hahn.
In the email, Hahn quoted the College of Architecture and Environmental Design Associate Dean Richard Zweifel: “Art Chapman was out for his regular morning walk and had what the doctors believe to be a massive heart attack that took him from us,” Zweifel wrote. “Art was a dear personal friend of mine as I am sure he was to so many of you.”
Architecture sophomore Patricia Hansen said he found the news shocking.
“I had seen him last quarter,” Hansen said. “He was fine, vibrant and lively — and now he’s gone.”

A professor since 1972 and a graduate of Cal Poly’s architecture program, Chapman was an active part of both the department and the college, Zweifel said.

“He had enthusiasm for everything he did,” he said. “He would come into every new project with a wide-eyed, infectious enthusiasm.”

Chapman taught a full spectrum of architecture courses and was often seen on campus mentoring and helping students with projects, Zweifel said.

“He had one of the friendliest student relationships, and had students always following him around,” Zweifel said. He said he fondly remembers his longtime friend and colleague as “the most generous man I know.”

Chapman was in his second year in the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) and taught architecture classes in Fall 2011 and Winter 2012.

Professor Howard Weisenthal worked in a team-teach second-year design class with Chapman for the past six years and remembers Chapman as “such a positive, motivating, generous, helpful, intelligent man.”

Weisenthal said Chapman made him a better teacher.

“Some students accused us of playing good cop-bad cop, but Arthur would never be bad cop; he was never unkind, and he always went out of his way to help students,” Weisenthal said. “Coming to class was the high point of his life — he didn’t have to be here, he just wanted to. It was never about him. It was always about students.”

Chapman came from a technical background, but recently re-established himself into the lower design classes, which they taught together in fall and winter quarters, according to Weisenthal.

Architecture senior Nick Ochoa, took a joint studio class with Chapman in his second year and recalls the experience as “inspiring.”

“Thinking now, I’m remembering an experiment we did with watercolor,” Ochoa said. “He took the paint, smeared it on the page and said ‘don’t be afraid.’ I do watercolor to this day because of him.”

Chapman brought warmth into any room he was in, Ochoa said.

“(Chapman’s death) is sad,” Ochoa said. “But you can also be thankful for the time with him. I think of all he did, and his impressions will last more than a lifetime.”

A service is tentatively planned for this weekend. Chapman is survived by his wife, Danielle, and two daughters.

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  1. So very sorry to hear of Art’s passing.

    I graduated 30 years ago, but I still remember Art. He was without a doubt one of the kindest and most personable profs I ever met while at Cal Poly.

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