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When Huell Howser passed through Orange several years ago on one of his well–known, televised road trips, he didn’t have a chance to stop at Old Towne’s Chapman University. The popular television host may not have given much thought to the university if not for a letter from James Doti.

“The letter invited me to the campus the next time I was in town, and I was impressed that the president of the university would take the time to personally contact me,” says Howser, host of the long–running KCET series California’s Gold, which highlights the state, including its inspiring people and scenic beauty. “After that letter, I did visit the campus on several occasions, each time finding Chapman to be full of positive and creative thoughts, ideas and energy,” he says. “The university seemed like an oasis.”

So impressed was Howser by Chapman that he recently donated his vast collection of television programs, including past and future episodes, for digitization. The university will put the entire collection online, making it available to anyone who wants to view Howser’s many television programs and various materials. Howser also donated papers, memorabilia and 1,800 books on California. To celebrate his donation, he will speak at Chapman on October 13th about his travels and the resulting television shows.

“I’ve often thought about how amazing it would have been if someone had traveled California in the 1920s and 1930s with a camera, and we could see those photos today and get a greater understanding of that time in history,” says Howser, a Tennessee native who came to Southern California in 1981 as reporter with KCBS–TV in Los Angeles and fell in love with the state, eventually transitioning to public television. Spanning over two decades, Howser’s work once archived promises to give future generations a snapshot of the last two decades of California history, including Orange and Orange County.

Admission is free to Howser’s talk on Thursday, October 13th at 7 pm in Memorial Hall. An audience Q&A will follow the presentation. For more information, call (714) 744–7677 or visit Chapman.edu/HuellHowser. The Leatherby Libraries will display part of the Huell Howser collection on the second floor, which will remain on display throughout October.

Read More About Huell Howser:
« Huell Howser to Donate all California’s Gold
« Huell Howser Biography
« PBS Series Hosted by Huell Howser
« Chapman University “Huell Howser – Live in Person!” October 13
« Huell Howser at Chapman University Photo Gallery

Written by Julie Bawden-Davis, Photograph by Jeanine Hill

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