The somber subject matter of the 24-hour news cycle may be shaping the conversation in boardrooms, water coolers, and kitchen tables around the country, but not at Pepperdine. It's not that our administrators, faculty, students, and staff are untouched by the harsh fiscal realities of our time; we have chosen not to focus on them alone.
Our students, among the brightest in the world, show no symptoms of discouragement by the challenges they are inheriting. Instead, they seem to be stimulated by these demands and eager to develop solutions. Pepperdine provides the perfect environment for learning. By strengthening heart, soul, body, and mind, the University is preparing these students to develop real solutions to address very real problems.
Therefore, it has never been more important for the University to fortify and improve the educational framework that makes this possible. I commend President Benton and his leadership team for wisely, cautiously, yet shrewdly steering the University through very difficult waters over the past year. Their fiscal management of this crisis overshadows most institutions that now face a very uncertain future. Through swift action, the leadership team stemmed losses quickly, managed cash flow by curtailing spending, and employed other cost-cutting measures, all while holding tuition down—no easy task.
I also commend and thank the faculty and staff for adapting to the challenges, often accepting a greater workload and taking on new responsibilities so that the student experience would not be diminished. Pepperdine is built, tended to, and advanced by a community. That has never been so apparent as it was this last year.
With unemployment skyrocketing and the increasing threat of inflation, the end of the world financial crisis is not yet in sight. We anticipate fluctuations in enrollment levels of some of our programs as long as credit is tight, the job market is weak, and the state and federal budgets are overextended. However, the performance of the past year gives us confidence that the fiscal policies of this administration are sound and that the determination of the faculty and staff is sure. Through continued thoughtful management of our resources, Pepperdine is poised to achieve its most ambitious goals.
Most importantly, as you review this annual report, I hope you will enjoy learning more about the exciting and encouraging stories of our students and their accomplishments; for they are the inspiration to those of us who serve and support Pepperdine.
Edwin L. Biggers