Message from the President - The Journey

Andrew K. Benton, President

Each year at this time, through this annual report, we pause to reflect upon the year that has just ended so that we may consider our accomplishments and acknowledge our blessings. Moments of thoughtful reflection are very hard to find in these busy days, but they are exceedingly important. Without them, it is difficult to stay rooted to your true course. On occasion, it is important to pull over to the side of the road to unfold the map, look to the heavens and find true north, take inventory of your resources, and recommit yourself to the journey.

In my seventh year as president, I was afforded such an opportunity. It was a gift. As I have said to several who have asked, I needed rest less than I needed different and through four unique adventures I found exactly what I was looking for and much more.

DISCOVERY AND IMAGINATION.

On my third adventure I traveled historic Route 66 and followed the path of the millions who had gone before, seeking the promise of the West. The "mother road," as John Steinbeck dubbed it, is still a powerful symbol of discovery and imagination. As I drove in silence over countless miles I found traces of our own story along the way. I thought of our founder George Pepperdine and our late friend and business school benefactor George L. Graziadio, traveling a similar road as they sought the opportunities that awaited them in Los Angeles. They had the foresight and imagination to envision what could be and the personal fortitude to achieve their dreams. I am an heir of their vision. The road was leading me home.

THE WISDOM OF THE OLD ROAD.

As I continued my journey, I could, on occasion, see the modern expressway beside me dotted with large semi trucks, SUVs, minivans, and motor homes occupied by oblivious passengers traveling at great speeds. The ambition of each driver was to put as many miles behind them as quickly as possible. I was saddened when I thought of the rich and textured experiences that they missed with each passing mile. They seemed focused only on their destination as if it alone were the only thing that possessed any value. While the passengers seemed completely unaware, I noticed the highway did not stray too far from the wisdom of the mother road. I chose not to rush but to savor each moment.

At Pepperdine, we are on a similar journey. In a rather short period of time we have traveled many miles, but there is still an endless road of possibilities ahead. Like so many at the University, I am eager to achieve our very ambitious goals and to fulfill our countless dreams. But the wisdom of the road tells me not to sacrifice the rich, textured experience of today's journey for the sake of speed. So, on this 70th anniversary of Pepperdine University, I invite you to pull to the side of the road, and as you turn each page, savor the experience of Pepperdine today. Consider the outstanding work of our world-class faculty and the strength of our impressive student body. Then, calibrate your compass and ready yourself for the journey ahead. It is a road filled with much hope and promise.