Ronald Reagan and George P. Shultz Heads Missing from Chapman U

Bring me the heads of Ronald Reagan and George P. Shultz!

Shouted in Central America during the 1980s--when Dutch was president and Shultzy was secretary of state--the plea rings out again today in Orange, where Chapman University officials bemoan the loss of busts depicting the GOP warhorses.

Chapman, of course, helps keep the lights on by paying back wealthy donors with bronze busts of their heroes sprinkled around campus. "Wealthy" explains why the likes of Reagan, Shultz and ultimate Chapman sugar daddy George Argyros are remembered in bronze there. (To be fair, there are also busts of cool people like Mozart, Ella Fitzgerald and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hey, remember when Reagan reacted to a King holiday by saying the truth about the slain civil rights icon will come out someday? It all comes full circle, baby!)

Randy Burba may have a Chapman bust some day. He's the chief of campus Public Safety AND adorable. But he's also unsure if the Reagan and Shultz busts were nicked by fans, foes or scrap hounds.

Pleads the Fifth.
Pleads the Fifth.

"It's just a real shame that anyone would steal from a university where these sculptures are out in the open for everyone to enjoy," Burba tells the Chapman News blog. "There is always the possibility they were stolen to be re-sold as scrap metal. However they were located in the middle of the campus in a high-traffic and patrolled area, which would lead us to believe these particular busts were targeted."

The exact location was along the walkway between the university's Fish Interfaith Center and Hutton Sports Center, and it is believed they were removed early Saturday morning. Each was slightly larger than the statesmen's real heads and weighed about 30 pounds each. Reagan's noggin was unbolted from its pedestal, but the thieves apparently had problems unscrewing Shultz, so they just up and took the entire rig.

The Reagan bust, sculpted by Miriam Baker, was dedicated in 2007 to recognize the Edgar and Elizabeth Pankey Chair in Media Arts, while the Shultz head that was made by Bruce Wolfe honored the Donald Bren Distinguished Chair in Business and Economics in 2010.

Chapman hasn't announced whether there is a reward for the busts' safe return, perhaps because--ike the men they honor--the university does not negotiate with terrorists. Unless they are Iranian captors who can help win an election or Central American ground war, of course.

Campus officials are now checking eBay, auction houses and metal-recycling centers to ensure the busts do not show up there. Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call Chapman Public Safety at 714.997.6763. If they don't show up soon, we begin bombing in five minutes.


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