A Conversation About the Future of Pepperdine University
Students and faculty: the heart of our story
ANDY » I consider myself more chief storyteller than anything else. As I tell the story of Pepperdine College and Pepperdine University, what do you think are the really important attributes that I should emphasize?
John » People. It’s the student, the character of the student, the character of the administration, the faculty, the people involved here who engage the students. That’s been the continuity of Pepperdine over the years. The thing that needs to be captured in your storytelling is the passion of people who are employed or who are associated with Pepperdine, who engage the students as they come through here.
ANDY » What story should I tell to describe the faculty of this University?
SHELLY » I think the story that you need to tell is about an energetic faculty, about a faculty that probably works beyond their capacity most of the time, maybe teaching more than at other schools, spending more time with students and encouraging students than other faculty do across the country, doing research and writing, at least as competitive as other schools. And so I would say a hardworking faculty that is hardworking because of their love for the students. That’s the number one quality that when, as a member of the faculty and working with a group of faculty, we go to interview somebody to come for a job, we’re looking for someone who wants to be with the students, wants to care about their teaching and do their very best and have that energy level.
ANDY » Hunter, as a student, how do you react to all this?
HUNTER STANFIELD current student, Class of 2009; president, Student Government Association » It’s very encouraging from a student’s standpoint to know that people still care even after they leave, and they’re not only worried about Pepperdine but about the students and their lives both at Pepperdine and outside of Pepperdine. I don’t think you find that a lot of places, and I’m very thankful because I have a lot of friends back home where they just go through college, leave with a piece of paper, and that’s it. And I’m leaving with more than a piece of paper; I’m leaving with character. I think that’s what’s most attractive about Pepperdine students to employers once they get out because a piece of paper is a piece of paper, but when they start talking, they see what the difference is between you and the other person in life or the job.
ANDY » Steve, what do you think the broader community would be surprised to see us accomplish in terms of mountains that we might claim?
STEVE » What I think Pepperdine has been so successful at is balance. As somebody who has employed a lot of people, I’ll take a look at resumes, and one of the things that they probably don’t teach you in filling out a resume is balance. And Pepperdine has a great balance between the intellectual- and the spiritual-based elements of this institution.
SETH » I think there’s one more way that I’d love to see Pepperdine grow in the years ahead, and it relates to internships and ways that alumni and friends of the University can serve in terms of helping students to find wonderful jobs. My business partner and I have hired just over 25 interns from three different schools at Pepperdine over the last six years, and we’ve found some wonderful, wonderful students, and some of them are still with us, and some of them we’ve helped to work in different worlds. But when we interview the students for internship, one thing that we find in a Pepperdine student that we usually don’t find in a non-Pepperdine student is Pepperdine students always say the reason why they’re here and what they want to do after graduation is not just make money; they want to make a difference. They want to help.
And that can be making a difference in many different areas.
So I would love for Pepperdine to be a place where when you’re a senior, you have people waiting for you to welcome you into the family of whatever industry or field you’re wanting to get into, and there’s no reason why that can’t and shouldn’t happen because it’s in line with the core values of the University, in my opinion.
ANDY » Tell you what: if I could get every alumnus to take on 25 interns (laughter), we’re done.
SETH » It’d be a done deal. It’d be a done deal.