Elizabeth “Bette” L. Aitken is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and moved to California in 1955. She is a proud graduate of Santa Ana College, where she met her husband Wylie. After teaching early elementary education to students for several years, she devoted her attention to her three children. While raising her children, Bette remained active as a civic leader. Her charitable activities include having been co-chair of the planning committee for the Musco Center of the Arts at Chapman Univeristy and honorary chair of its grand opening, a board Member for Paint Your Heart Out Anaheim, vice chair of South Coast Repertory. She currently sits on the Board of Trustees for South Coast Repertory Theatre where she is vice president of community relations, and has been member of its Gala Committee since 2001, having chaired three separate galas, is a member of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ “Angels of the Arts and Chapman University’s “Women of Chapman” and works with Women in Leadership Orange County and Laura’s House, where she was honored for her work in 2007 as Woman of the Year.
In January of 2014, Bette named Chance Theater in Anaheim’s new home: The Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center. It was also in 2014 that Bette and her husband Wylie Aitken were honored as Chapman’s Citizens of the Year for their service, contribution and support of Chapman University. Bette has also been recognized by Senator Diane Feinstein and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez for her public service work. Most recently in 2016, Mrs. Aitken was honored in Orange County Business Journal’s Giving Guide as one of the Top Philanthropists in Orange County, along with numerous other awards for philanthropy from the Orange County Business Journal, Riviera Magazine, Cal State Fullerton, and Mission Foundation of San Juan Capistrano among others.
Outside of her philanthropic and civic endeavors, Bette manages the family’s real estate investments and is the proud parent of three accomplished children—Darren, Chris, and Ashleigh—and eleven grandchildren.
Wylie, better known as Bette’s husband, is a nationally recognized civil trial lawyer and founding partner of the firm Aitken Aitken Cohn in Santa Ana, representing individuals and companies harmed by the bad conduct of others. An avid supporter of the arts, he was a past chairman of the State of California’s Arts Council and serves on various theater and film boards. By supporting the 2017 season, Anaheim residents Wylie and Bette are excited to contribute to the growing impact Chance Theater makes in the community at large both in Anaheim and all over Southern California.