I am told that Helen Pepperdine once commented that her late husband would never have imagined what Pepperdine University had become. But while Mr. Pepperdine may not have foreseen the exact nature of the success of his beloved college, he did envision that Pepperdine would become a bright beacon in a world that needed light. He envisioned its greatness before the first brick was laid on the original campus at 79th and Vermont.
George Pepperdine had confidence in the institution because he believed faith and reason could be effective partners in the academic endeavor. He believed that a fine liberal arts education influenced by a Christian worldview was possible and sustainable.
He also believed in Los Angeles. He once called the City of Angels the “Heart of the World.” He understood that his college would have greater influence with its home base in Southern California and correctly predicted L.A.’s growth and its broad influence on the national and international stage.
Finally, Mr. Pepperdine believed that men and women, when presented with the Pepperdine dream, would be motivated to lend their support. In truth, many marvel at our history of success in obtaining gifts from generous people who had no connection to Pepperdine other than a strong affinity with our mission, our dreams and our goals.
George Pepperdine’s reasoning has proven to be sound. In just under 70 years, his little college has risen to the top of many lists. It now finds itself in the company of some of most prestigious American institutions of higher learning. Most impressive is that it has achieved its success while remaining true to its mission.
As an alumnus of the Pepperdine School of Law, I can share personal testimony that this University is changing lives for good. As the associate vice chancellor for estate and gift planning for six years, I witnessed, with awe and deep gratitude, the vast numbers of caring, generous people willing to invest in the mission and aspirations of the University.
On August 1, 2006 I accepted President Benton’s invitation to lead the advancement effort at Pepperdine. I am honored to stand alongside Pepperdine’s chief “friendraiser” of over 30 years—Chancellor Emeritus Charles Runnels. He, too, is a visionary who zealously pursues the Pepperdine dream every day. He clearly sees a bright future for the University. He understands how its history has shaped the moment of opportunity that is before us, and he continues to inspire me about our future.
Like our founder and our president, I place students at the heart of the academic enterprise and I understand that if those students are to benefit …then we must do all we can to help those who serve them, especially our dedicated faculty.
I am privileged to lead one of the finest teams of advancement and public affairs professionals in higher education. Last year our team, along with our chancellor emeritus and president, recorded a record total of gifts and pledges. These gifts from alumni and friends helped us increase student grants and scholarships, improve student life, hire new faculty, upgrade facilities and equipment, and support our scholar-athletes. The generosity of our donors is a strong endorsement of our work—work that has such a tremendous impact on the students we serve.
Like our founder and our president, I place students at the heart of the academic enterprise and I understand that if those students are to benefit from the finest courses of literature, history, religion, art, the sciences, education, psychology, business, and law, then we must do all we can to help those who serve them, especially our dedicated faculty.
As we enter our 70th year, we are forever grateful for our friends who continue to enrich Pepperdine in so many ways. We pledge our steadfast commitment to the ideals of this great institution—academic excellence, faith, community, and service—and we promise to see that the beacon, which Mr. Pepperdine envisioned, remains lit for the good of the world.