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In Memoriam
Chaplin Tyler

March 3, 2004--University friend and benefactor Chaplin Tyler, 105, of Cokesbury Village, died Feb. 29.

Mr. Tyler donated $3 million to UD’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. His gifts supported the construction of what is now Alfred Lerner Hall, the home of the Lerner College of Business and Economics, and the creation of named professorships in the college—there are currently four Chaplin Tyler Professors—as well as fellowships for graduate students.

In announcing one of his gifts in 1999, Mr. Tyler said, “I was prompted to offer these gifts because of my great confidence in the people at the University of Delaware. Some people talk about 'giving until it hurts.' I think you should give until it feels good, and it makes me feel very good indeed to support business students at the University of Delaware. I see it as an investment in the future of this country."

UD President David P. Roselle said, “Chaplin Tyler was a very special friend to the University and a great friend to me personally as well. His penetrating mind was matched by a twinkling sense of humor that animated every conversation I ever had with him. Throughout his long and very productive life, Chap was constantly looking for the best ways to accomplish his goals and to help those he believed in succeed. We are most fortunate that he was our friend, and he will be greatly missed.”

Michael J. Ginzberg, dean and Chaplin Tyler Professor of Business in the Lerner College of Business and Economics, said, “Chap was truly a friend and supporter of the college. His support was much more than the financial support he provided. He drew from his wealth of experience to provide many ideas about management education. He frequently talked with me about what we could to do to make the Lerner College of Business and Economics the leader in this field. I will always treasure our conversations.”

Kenneth R. Biederman, professor of finance and former dean of the college, said, “Chap was one of the most extraordinary people you could ever hope to meet. The extent of his generosity and involvement in the College of Business and Economics is widely known and recognized. But, beyond that was the pleasure of spending time with Chap. He was so well read, always current yet uniquely able to add a perspective that others could not. Whenever I would visit with Chap I would make sure I had first read all the latest national papers and business magazines so that he wouldn't show me up too badly! I know I shall never see anyone like him again; he will indeed be missed.”

Two books written by Mr. Tyler were published by the University. At the age of 99, he wrote “Building for Success in Business: Your Mid-Career Years, which offered practical advice for business executives between the ages of 23 and 42. When he was 103, he published “The View from Age 100,” which shared some of his experiences and the life lessons he had learned.

In 1993, Mr. Tyler was awarded the University’s Medal of Distinction, and the atrium in Lerner Hall bears his name, as does a regular lecture series in the college. The University recently installed a mural that includes his photo in the Tyler Atrium, honoring “Donors of Distinction” to the College of Business and Economics.

Born March 28, 1898, in Washington, D.C., Mr. Tyler attended Force Elementary School and McKinley Technical High School in Washington. He was admitted to Northeastern College of Engineering in Boston in 1915 and graduated in 1920 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

From 1917-19, he served in France as a medic with Harvard Medical School in U.S. Army Hospital No. 5, and his 27-month Army service was accepted by Northeastern College in lieu of cooperative employment requirements. Mr. Tyler also was a second lieutenant in the Chemical Service Reserve from 1924-29.

Mr. Tyler was appointed research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1920 and graduated with a master’s degree in chemical engineering in 1923, with a promotion to research associate.

He was employed by McGraw-Hill as an editorial assistant in December 1924 and resigned as assistant editor in September 1927. While at McGraw-Hill, he was appointed associate in journalism by Columbia University to develop and teach a course in business journalism in the 1926-27 academic year.

Mr. Tyler joined DuPont as a financial analyst in chemical engineering in September 1927 and was assigned to Lazote Inc. In 35 years as a DuPont employee, he held several positions, including research supervisor, research manager, new products sales manager, corporate assistant, director of public relations, director of public relations for Remington Arms subsidiary and senior member of DuPont Development Department, from which he retired in 1962.

In 1963, Mr. Tyler was appointed by the University of Delaware to make a 15-year forecast of enrollment, staffing, facilities and financing. Completion of the study led to an appointment by the state of Delaware as executive director of Higher Educational Advisory Commission formed to comply with the federal Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963 (HEFA), providing construction funding for institutions of higher education. After five years as executive director, he was appointed member of the commission by Delaware Gov. Russell Peterson, serving until the end of 1974.

In 1965, Mr. Tyler was appointed corporate consultant to The Coca-Cola Co., an assignment that continued for 15 years.

After "retiring" from Coke in 1980 at age 82, his work time was allocated equally between book authorship and devising innovative graduate study in business at the University of Delaware as serving as a member of the business college’s Visiting Board.

In addition to the two books published by UD, Mr. Tyler was the author of “Chemical Engineering Economics, Managing Innovation,” with Edwin A. Gee.

His honors include an honorary doctorate from Northeastern University, being a life member emeritus of Northeastern University’s board of trustees and a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and membership in Tau Beta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, as well as a listing in “American Men and Women of Science.”

Mr. Tyler is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; a daughter, Joan T. Gilbert of Nazareth, Pa.; a son, Chaplin Jr. of Smyrna; eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He also is survived by two stepchildren, Stanley Trier of Dover and Sally Trier Grant of Sidney, Australia; eight step-grandchildren; and one step-great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 18, in the chapel auditorium at Cokesbury Village. Interment was private.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Cokesbury Village Benevolence Fund, 726 Loveville Rd, Hockessin, DE 19707; or Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, 669 South Union St., Wilmington, DE 19805.