The sun moves relentlessly from east to west-always
westward. And from the first stirrings of liberty, there has been
that sense of westward destiny, of inevitability of the shape of
a free nation. The advancing frontier moved forward with the sun,
following it to its place of setting.
The adventurers finally reached the last continental boundary,
the Pacific Ocean. And today Los Angeles stands at the edge of the
American frontier, a symbol of the achievements of our forebears.
In our time, the emphasis is no longer on the expansion of territories
or the taming of a continent. Instead, our current challenges include
the improvement of our quality of life and the assurance of equal
opportunity for every person.
shouldn't surprise us that George Pepperdine came west from his
native Kansas. It shouldn't surprise
us that his fortune, the fortune he gave to establishing his college,
came from the latest technology of his time-the automobile. Mr.
Pepperdine was not unlike thousands of others who sought their fortune
in the fabled land beyond the mountains and by the shining sea.
For a hundred years and more, California's opportunities have been
rising, as the Golden State continues to move upward in economic
stature and in prominence in the nation and the world. It is now
the most populous state in the union, with an economy that ranks
as fifth in the world.
Pepperdine University is a California university, reflecting all
the vitality and dynamism of the state. At the same time, it is
a world-class institution, with campuses in several countries and
influence that spans the globe. Pepperdine has international impact.
For many decades now, Los Angeles has been the place where visions
of new and brighter tomorrows have been nurtured. When people want
to know what the future holds in store, they come here to observe
the latest ideas,
the next trends, the new generation of innovation. Both Pepperdine
and the city of Los Angeles are built on a solid foundation. Our
civil heritage includes faith and courage, not only that which was
brought west from the original colonies, but also that which was
brought north from one mission to the next by those intrepid, brown-robed
padres. The people who changed Los Angeles from a tiny pueblo into
a major city were individuals whose confidence came from a belief
in divine providence.
The fortunes of Pepperdine and Los Angeles seem to have been intertwined
in many ways. The L.A. Unified School District has for many decades
depended on Pepperdine to supply it with teachers and administrators.
And Pepperdine continues to educate mid-career professionals from
the city. When people search for cutting-edge concepts, when
they seek to examine a microcosm of the world, they choose this
city of innovation and this dynamic university.
Both the University and the city always seem to be in a race with
itself, striving to catch up with its own energy
and progress. And both the University and the city struggle to keep
up with the new dreams that are being born daily.
As a lifelong member of the Churches of Christ, George Pepperdine
thought about impacting culture through the college he was going
to found. And he knew that Los Angeles was the perfect place to
locate such an institution.
In a 1925 radio broadcast, twelve years before the beginning of
the college, he prophetically said this:
Good evening radio friends. The things I am
going to say to you tonight about the future destiny of California
and the Pacific Coast States may at first sound like wild speculation,
but if you will bear with me for just a few moments, I will state
my case briefly and give my reasons for such conclusions.
If it were possible for us to look into the
future and clearly see actual conditions and happenings of a few
generations hence, I believe we would visualize in California
a great agricultural, manufacturing and industrial center with
several times its present population.
Right here we shall some day see the heart
and center of human activity . . .
Right here we shall some day see the ultimate
accomplishments in education . . .
Right here we shall some day see . . . the
entire commercial universe vibrating in response to our activities
and with every nation on earth paying financial tribute.
Right here, my friends, we shall some day see
Los Angeles the greatest city of the greatest country, the real,
'Heart of the World.'
It is extraordinary how accurate Mr. Pepperdine's predictions were,
even before he had decided what contributions
he, himself, would make to the future of the region. He said, "Right
here we shall some day see the ultimate accomplishments in education
. . ." For this devout, unassuming businessman, a "Christian
to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values"
would one day be the "ultimate accomplishment in education"
By institutional standards, Pepperdine has a short history. But
the achievements of the University are remarkable.
As a youngster, it has demonstrated tremendous energy, excellence,
and leadership. But this is only the beginning.
Pepperdine University looks to the future with faith and confidence.
In the long sweep of history, we may be relative newcomers. But
our time has come for even greater things.