our Heritage of Faith is one of five major emphases President Benton
enumerated in his inaugural address three years ago. He has declared
that those five goals are central to his tenure as president.
To some, a Heritage of Faith may not seem to be at the same level
of importance as other goals, such as strengthening our resources,
our diversity, our sense of community, or our emphasis on scholarship
and culture. But all seven of Pepperdine's presidents, in their
day-to-day struggles, observed the providence of God in the affairs
of this often-blessed University. Especially in retrospect, all
of the University's chief executives have seen the guiding hand
of God, in much the same way that the founders of our nation all
agreed that God was, indeed, involved in America's struggle for
liberty and independence.
A longtime English professor from Wellesley College, Miss Katherine
Lee Bates, was lecturing at a summer session at Colorado College
in 1893. In her notebook, she scribbled, "One day some of the
other teachers and I decided to go on a trip to 14,000-foot Pikes
Peak. We hired a prairie wagon. Near the top we had to leave the
wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. But
when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America
seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse."
on Pikes Peak, Miss Bates captured the mood of the founders as she
wrote in her notebook, "America! America! God shed His grace
on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining
"The God Who gave us life
gave us liberty at the same time."
- Thomas Jefferson
We are deeply grateful for University founder George Pepperdine, who
dreamed large and invested completely. We are grateful, too, for Blanche
Ebert Seaver, a friend most dear and most generous, without whom we
would not be where we are today. As each day dawns, the faculty and
staff are thankful for the special place where they labor- a place
provided by a whole host of people who, we believe, were sent to us
by God. Our mission statement affirms that "Pepperdine is a Christian
university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence
and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of
purpose, service, and leadership." We believe that this is a
university for just such a time as this. We are proud of our people
and our achievements, and also proud that we have never forgotten
our heritage of faith. It is both the path by which we have arrived
at this point and the source of our confidence in the future.This
report glances backward toward the "Spirit of the Past,"
as we consider quotations from America's founders concerning the national
heritage of faith that guided them in the establishment of our nation.
Then the report looks forward toward the "Wave of the Future,"
as we consider Pepperdine alumni and others who are building upon
a foundation of faith with accomplishments that improve the lives
Our heritage as a university has deep underpinnings. It is a solid
foundation of faith that includes the principles that directed our
nation in the days leading up to the American Revolution. The nature
of a foundation is that it does not-or should not-change. The structures
built upon it may be modified or even rebuilt. But the foundation
remains firm. Our nation embraces people of many different faiths.
Nevertheless, the particular seeds of faith that produced our national
heritage can be traced to the land of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.
From there, the growth of faith can be traced to Rome, Western Europe,
and finally to Colonial America. Though we may at times forget it,
America was born in revolution, with ideas of freedom based on assumptions
. . ."certain inalienable rights." Our founders were virtually
unanimous in their belief that liberty is granted, not by government,
but by God.
Today, we may be shocked by the straightforward references to God
and faith that are found everywhere in the language of America's
founders. However, the patriots were only expressing what the majority
of Americans believed. And the history of our nation following those
monumental days of revolution-the vision, the courage, the struggle,
the triumph-was grounded on faith in a divine plan.
We may not have heard these words in many years, or perhaps ever.
The quotations, from some of our greatest patriots, conjure up the
"Spirit of the Past," a spirit of faith and courage that
forged our infant nation. The ideas contained in the quotations
also motivated our founder, George Pepperdine, and our greatest