are glimpses of Pepperdine alumni and students whose lives are improving
our nation and the world. Faith must fuel the future. Because
without faith, it is very possible that the future will falter,
and we will become victims rather than victors of our circumstances.
In his founding address of September 21, 1937, George Pepperdine
said, "I am endowing this institution to help young men and
women to prepare themselves for a life of usefulness in this competitive
world and to help them build a foundation of Christian character
and faith which will survive the storms of life."
age 14, Tara Lawrence began volunteering with the American
Cancer Society in her native New Jersey. As she worked with little
children afflicted with cancer, she discovered that one of the hardest
things about the illness is the hair loss that accompanies therapy.
She started a letter and telephone campaign, asking organizations
to donate caps to the children. This grew into the Hats Off for
Cancer organization, which was able to provide hats autographed
by Barbara Walters, the cast of the "Today Show," N'Sync,
and other celebrities. Tara is now a senior at Pepperdine. She plans
to edit a book of stories and poems written by children with cancer
and use the royalties to open a summer camp for cancer patients.
Hollie Packman earned her master's degree from Pepperdine
in 1997. She and her husband, Daniel, began helping homeless people
in an unlikely place-Malibu. They soon were acquainted with a half-dozen,
then a dozen people who wanted only a second chance at life. As
the group grew, an organization was formed: S.O.S. Ministries. Through
it, the homeless are offered food, assistance, and prayer. Hollie
says the number one prayer request is for work. She and Daniel and
those who have joined them are making a tremendous difference, creating
a safe place where men and women can make a new start. In one corner
of Malibu, hope burns brightly.
Ted Leenerts was a pilot in Vietnam, then a test pilot,
and finally an aircraft commander for Alaska Airlines. But
he felt a call to some higher purpose. In addition to his flying
schedule, he became a chaplain for Alaska and later ministered to
families who lost loved ones aboard Alaska Flight 261 that went
down off the coast of Port Hueneme, California. Ted earned a master's
degree from Pepperdine to assist him in counseling. He was ordained
as a pastor and took on the chaplaincy of the Newport Beach Police
Department. After the devastation of September 11, 2001, he was
among the first counselors at Ground Zero. Whether in the midst
of death or soaring at 30,000 feet, Ted is a voice of compassion.
Jeremy Estrada grew up as a gang member in East L.A. At
age 12, his best friend died in his arms of stab wounds.
In and out of detention facilities, by 18 he had seen more hatred
and violence than anyone should ever see. After being arrested on
a weapons violation, he was sentenced to a behavior modification
high school-and something finally clicked. "I always knew there
was a God," Jeremy says, "and as I looked at the beautiful
mountains, I was reawakened to His power." Jeremy entered college,
transferred to Pepperdine, and graduated in 2002. Today he's a husband,
a father, a Marathon athlete, and a mentor for at-risk teens. He
says, "Education, rather than violence, is now my passion."
months before the twin towers fell in New York, Pierre-Richard
Prosper was sworn in as ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues,
a new position with the U.S. State Department. Before that he served
as a war crimes prosecutor for the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal
for Rwanda, Africa. He was the first prosecutor to win a guilty
verdict on genocide charges in an international tribunal. Pierre-Richard,
a 1989 graduate of the Pepperdine law school, said, "My education
taught me that, no matter what, I should use my skills to help society.
I must attribute this to Pepperdine, because I went into law school
with a completely different perspective. [Because of what I learned
at Pepperdine] I went into public service and did what I could in
As valedictorian of the Pepperdine School of Law, class of 1999,
Jill Jones Cucullu was courted by many prestigious law firms.
But she turned her back on lucrative offers and chose instead to
begin a work among the homeless in downtown Los Angeles. At the
Union Rescue Mission, the largest homeless shelter in America, she
launched Pepperdine's Legal Aid Clinic to help men and women find
their way back from legal disaster. Former homeless people who are
participating in various rehabilitation programs are helped to clean
up their financial, tax, and other legal problems. Another Pepperdine
attorney has replaced her now, as Jill gave birth to her first baby.
But she remains a selfless and inspiring pioneer.
In 1995, Tom Burnett completed his Pepperdine MBA at the
Graziadio School. As senior vice president at Thoratec Corporation,
he worked hard and was respected by his coworkers. After completing
his MBA, Tom and his wife, Deena, began their family, and by September
11, 2001, they had three little girls. September 11 was the day
of destiny when Tom Burnett and his fellow passengers aboard Flight
93 would resist the hijackers and interrupt their plan to destroy
a vital target in Washington, D.C. Deena said of Tom, "He was
a man of heartfelt compassion, deep convictions, love, and had a
keen sense of right and wrong. He believed that morals and values
were not debatable."
In an alumni publication from January 1958, Mr. Pepperdine wrote,
"I am counting on you, the alumni, to live long after I am
gone and to continue the ever increasing and widening waves of good
citizenship and Christian influence embodied in the ideals of our
We believe the students and alumni of Pepperdine
University have not failed our founder.
We have included quotations from America's past that echoed from
Philadelphia to Washington, from Boston to Richmond-words of affirmation
and caution from patriots who forged a new nation. The faith that
animated those heroes also inspired the explorers, the pioneers,
and the builders of the nation that was taking shape. The vision
of a free and unified nation soon spanned the broad, beautiful continent.
Every American is deeply indebted to those who first envisioned
our national freedom and all those who have been willing to spill
their blood for it.
We also offered several stories of Pepperdine people who are accomplishing
wonderful things and carrying the message and mission of faith into
tomorrow. It is difficult to mention stories of the good things
that are happening, because by necessity we must leave out many
stories, and there are so many unsung heroes who serve silently,