Message from the Chairman

Edwin L. Biggers, Chairman, Board of Regents

It was my privilege in June of 2004 to be selected by the Pepperdine University Board of Regents as its seventh chairman. Obviously, I count it a great honor to occupy the position first filled by our founder, Mr. George Pepperdine. He was eventually followed by people whom I admire very much: Don Miller, Robert Jones, Lloyd Nelson, Tom Bost, and Tom Trimble. To stand in their shadow is a humbling, yet inspiring experience. Most, if not all, of these chairmen faced daunting challenges. And while there are many new vistas yet to be achieved, I am grateful for the heights to which the University has already risen.

Through the years, many of our University friends learned of Pepperdine and added their support, not because the University had “arrived” and established itself as a major national institution, but because it embraced foundational beliefs that nearly all universities had acknowledged at one point in their history. In addition, those faithful friends sensed that Pepperdine had a destiny, a powerful direction and purpose that others could not or would not pursue. The participation in this enterprise by our honored friends, many of whom are gone but not forgotten, has helped enormously in Pepperdine’s rise to prominence. And leading the way on this journey has been an amazing succession of presidents and chancellors.

Our current president, Andrew K. Benton, is now a seasoned chief executive, having led the University with distinction for four years. Before his selection as president, he had accumulated twenty-six years in higher education administration, sixteen of those years at Pepperdine. The extent of the University’s accomplishments this year, and for the past four years, along with the impact of President Benton’s leadership, will be evident as you read the pages of this report.

Working beside the president is Charles B. Runnels. It would be difficult to overestimate his influence on the advancement of Pepperdine since the late 1960s. First as vice chancellor, then as chancellor, he has been a leading connector with those friends who eventually came to our aid and made new buildings, new campuses, and new programs possible.

The stalwart educational crusader, Allan Bloom, said, “The real community of man...is the community of those who seek the truth, of the potential knowers.” Our emphasis in 2003-2004 has been on Pepperdine as a community, and, we might add in Bloom’s words, a “community of those who seek the truth.”

I am a part of this community because it does indeed seek the truth, whether in the world of science and hard facts or in the world of faith. Increasingly, as a scientist and engineer, I question those who dismiss the latter possibility and consider only the former, a world that can be measured with the instruments and logic that we ourselves have created.

Pepperdine University embraces an open universe, rather than a closed, materialistic one. And, it seems, the God who interjects Himself into the affairs of humans continues to bless this community of learning in astonishing ways. It is my prayer that God will continue to bless us in this endeavor as we strive to enable this community to experience lives with a deeper sense of purpose, service, and leadership.

Edwin L. Biggers
Chairman, Board of Regents