With a $2.5 million gift to his alma mater, R. John Chapel Jr. ‘67, former President and CEO of AVIEL Systems, Inc., and his wife Virginia endowed the first dean’s chair in leadership at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. Drexel is the second private university in the nation to have an endowed dean’s chair.
“I am very impressed with the leadership demonstrated by Dean George Tsetsekos of the LeBow College,” said Chapel. “Endowing the dean’s chair will provide him with a discretionary fund that can be used to advance the college and prepare graduates to enter the business world with a solid education well grounded in leadership and ethics.”
Resources from the dean’s chair will support the current dean and will help attract subsequent leaders of LeBow College. Funds will be used to enhance various programs selected by Chapel and Tsetsekos. Tsetsekos will be named as the first holder of R. John Chapel, Jr., Dean’s Chair in Leadership at Drexel.
“John is an exceptional business school alumnus,” said Tsetsekos. “On behalf of LeBow students, I thank him and Virginia for their support of our mission. The dean’s chair will further enhance our reputation as an institution of progressive knowledge and research in the contemporary business environment.”
Chapel originally enrolled at Drexel in 1961 to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Financial difficulties forced him to postpone his studies, and seek employment for a couple of years. He began working as a design draftsman, but soon realized he would like to return to college and earn a degree in business. He returned to Drexel, joined the football team, and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1967 after carrying 23 credits during his last term.
“I realized that what I learned in my marketing and finance classes would be of great use to me when I got out of school,” said Chapel, who specializes in helping emerging companies plan and execute successful growth strategies resulting in significant market expansion. Over the years he was able to build upon his education with practical experience and has been able to leverage both to become a successful businessman.
Chapel incorporated the Virginia-based AVIEL Systems, Inc., in January 2006 to bring the company’s two subsidiaries, OPTIMUS and Performance Management Consulting, Inc. (PMC) together under a single banner. In 2008, the company had about 400 employees and nearly $80 million in revenue. AVIEL is an acronym Chapel and his wife came up with using the names of their three grandchildren: Avery (AV), Ian (I), and Ella (EL). The company serves federal government agencies in areas critical to national security, transportation, and defense. Areas of expertise include management and IT consulting, technology infrastructure outsourcing and integration, financial management, enterprise integration and information assurance.
Chapel previously served as COO of Computer & Hi-Tech Management, a professional services company specializing in providing IT services and solutions to both the Department of Defense and public sector, where he led the company’s successful transformation and acquisition. He played a similar role as President and COO of ANDRULIS Corporation, tripling the IT services firm’s revenues in three years, with considerable growth resulting in a successful acquisition. He also served as vice president and CFO of the MSEC group of ManTech International, which provided personnel and IT services in both the public and private sectors. Chapel has also held executive management roles in other private and public firms. He currently serves on the boards of several businesses and community organizations.
Chapel has sold AVIEL, but plans to remain active in business and has established a company, White Hall Capital LLC, a private equity company that will continue investing in government services companies. He and his wife currently live in Ashburn, Virginia. They have two sons: Jay, who lives in Switzerland with his wife and three children, and Christopher, who is recently engaged and lives in Georgetown, D.C. Chapel enjoys golf, as well as cooking and wine, and has an interest in cars.
Founded in 1922, LeBow College is ranked by U.S. News &World Report among the top U.S. business schools. Entrepreneur/Princeton Review ranks LeBow’s entrepreneur program third in the U.S. and ranks graduate programs eighth in the nation. BusinessWeek ranks the Drexel MBA part-time programs number 10 in the nation, A+ for curriculum, and best for job changers. The College has more than 3,300 students, 100 faculty and 30,000 alumni and is accredited by AACSB International-The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. It offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and executive education programs. For additional information, visit www.lebow.drexel.edu.