Message from the President

Andrew K. Benton, President

Our Nation has developed over time on the ambitions of men and women inspired by determination, commitment to progress, discovery, and renewed faith. Since that time, and inspired by the spirit of those giants in history, the world has seen all manner of scholarly and cultural advancements. When we consider this heritage we conclude that the most enduring legacy we may leave future generations is a commitment to academic excellence, to Christian faith and, of course, to the human spirit.

We hope and we believe our accomplishments at Pepperdine University might be considered some of the best brought to the world’s window. True spiritual expression, productivity, scientific discovery, art, music, literature, athletic competition, and much more are Pepperdine’s contributions of scholarship and culture. These broad fields of study represent the daily work and hourly joy of what we do at Pepperdine. Moreover, they represent the determination and the aspirations of our impressive and talented men and women.

Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it."
-Marian Wright Edelman

When we speak of strengthening scholarship and culture, we are referring in large part to reason, learning and research, and the ambitions we see everyday in our University community. I believe that scholarship is a building block of progress; it is the key tool to breakthroughs and discoveries. Scholarship in our world—at our University—is proof that the life of the mind is alive and well. It gives power to ideas and casts a determined vision for what lies ahead.

Our emphasis also includes culture. Every community in the world has a culture. That culture, wherever it is, embodies the values, virtues, and quality of life admired and demonstrated by people who form that culture. Our continued aspirations for culture at Pepperdine are not so very different from our intended legacy for the world; we are a community in pursuit of truth. We are tirelessly dedicated to diversity, excellence, and faith; a culture C.S. Lewis defined as "a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost."

Scholarship and culture, as we view them, can truly be summarized as products of mind and heart, soul, strength and faith; products of the human spirit. From discovery to creativity, from exploration to invention, astronomy to music, the history of our planet is full of examples of this truth and the heroes who have emulated it. At Pepperdine, we are proud to introduce more such heroes to the world. You will read about many of them here.

At Pepperdine, we also have a challenge to be excellent. We believe the vision of strengthening our scholarship and of deepening our appreciation for­—and contribution to—culture is a large part of that challenge. I truly believe it is part of what excites and motivates us all.

During the last two decades Pepperdine conducted two very successful campaigns—"The Wave of Excellence" and "Challenged to Lead." I believe the strong call to excellence in both campaigns succeeded because it stirred the hearts of every person involved at the deepest human level. The response to that campaign demonstrated a truth discovered by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. Zweig, forced to flee his beloved Europe in the dark days of the late 1930s and early 1940s, said "only that which points the human spirit beyond its own limitations into what is universally human gives the individual strength superior to his own."

Reaching up, reaching beyond and always pressing forward is the passion of the human spirit. It is the passion which motivates our work today. In that spirit, we celebrate our successes and give thanks to God for the many people who support our mission of excellence.

Signature of Andrew K. Benton

Andrew K. Benton