Chapman Magazine's Winter Issue Turns into Inadvertent Tribute to Huell Howser

"When we put together the cover story about California TV icon Huell Howser's most recent generous gift to Chapman--his 'Volcano House' in the Mojave Desert--we could not have predicted his passing so soon afterward," Chapman University PR head Mary Platt wrote in a note accompanying the winter issue of Chapman Magazine, the school's newsletter for alumni such as myself. "This issue thus stands as a tribute to him and to all that he did for Chapman and our students over the past couple of years, although more tributes undoubtedly will be coming.

The cover for the issue is a gorgeous shot of Howser's legendary house, as awe-inspiring and Californian as the man himself.

Howser, of course, in recent years had donated his entire papers to Chapman after school president Jim Doti essentially asked him for them, and the school is digitizing all of Howser's shows so they may be online forever. The article on Howser for the issue (available here) focuses on the house, along with pictures and quotes of Howser. But far more telling of the man is a separate feature, one highlighting Chapman's "California's Gold" Scholarship, one funded in what the magazine called Huell's living trust but now unfortunately will be his estate.

"A hundred years from now, there won't be a person walking on this planet who knows or cares who Huell Howser was," Huell told the magazine. "The words 'California's Gold' will no longer mean anything about me or about a television series. They will mean what California's Gold has always truly meant: not the literal gold nuggets that they pulled out of the earth, not the riches people got when they came here, but the dreams that brought people here and are still bringing people here."

And in that spirit, Platt also announced in her accompanying note the first recipient of Huell's scholarship: junior Mayra Gonzalez of SanTana.

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