The Associated Women for Pepperdine celebrates over fifty years of service to the Christian young people at Pepperdine University. In total, AWP has given more than $4 million, as well as countless thousands of hours of dedicated service. But the story of AWP cannot be told in numbers; rather, it is the story of friendship and fellowship that has blessed the lives of all of us who have prayed, planned, and worked together.
AWP began on June 5, 1958, when more than 300 Christian women from churches all over Southern California met for brunch on the lawn of the president’s home on the campus in Los Angeles. By the end of the first year, there were 750 members in 18 districts. Within three years the membership numbered more than 2,000 women.
What is the secret of AWP’s continued effectiveness?
First, our purpose is clear. Pepperdine University continues to honor the mission our founder, George Pepperdine, stated in 1937 – to give young people an excellent academic education in a Christian environment. AWP’s purpose is to help implement that mission by providing financial assistance to worthy young people.
Second, AWP members have been amazingly dedicated and involved. Its leadership has been superior. One prominent civic leader said, “I have never been in an organization with so little envy, jealously, and strife.” Finally, and above all, God’s hand has blessed AWP in amazing ways as we have planned with purpose and persisted in prayer.
In the spring of 1958 my mother, Irene Young Mattox, and my husband Norvel encouraged me to begin a woman’s organization to support Pepperdine College. Mother had been involved in the beginning of “Stepping Stones,” a support group for Oklahoma Christian College, the second such organization among colleges related to Churches of Christ.
I called Gloria Sanders, Helen Pepperdine, Thelma Allen, Margaret Davidson, Elizabeth Randolph, and Bettye Shipp. We seven formed a steering committee to make plans for what would become the Associated Women for Pepperdine. We spent many hours talking, planning, and praying, and the organizational meeting was set for June 5, 1958.
More than 300 interested Christian women attended a brunch held in the beautiful garden of the president’s home on the Los Angeles campus. Many of our present members were there and felt the excitement of this new concept in educational support. The enthusiasm was electric. That day more than 140 women became charter members, including 20 life members.
I read a letter recently from one of those charter members indicating the spirit of dedication and sacrifice that was felt. “When I heard you introduce the idea of ‘Women for Pepperdine,’ I purposed that with God’s help I would begin selling greeting cards to earn enough to be a life member. I went door to door and successfully earned that $100 for my life membership.”
In the 55 years since that first meeting, thousands of women—great officers and just as great members—have worked with willing hands and loving hearts to enable thousands of students to receive scholarship aid to attend Pepperdine University. And “the future is as bright as the promises of God.”
Helen M. Young
|Helen M. Young||District 36||1958-60|
|Evelyn Clark||District 1||1960-62|
|Thelma Abken||District 15||1962-63|
|Marge Adrian||District 21||1963-64|
|Jean Barlow McCrady||District 50||1964-66|
|Lois Edmonds||District 2||1966-67|
|Mickey Dwyer||District 8||1967-69|
|Ruth Bales Brackeen||District 3||1969-71|
|Archie Huff||District 4||1971-73|
|Anna Pearl Adrian||District 9||1973-74|
|Dorothy Moore||District 36||1974-75|
|Thelma Allen||District 15||1975-77|
|Nancy Corcorran||District 1||1977-78|
|Joan Biggers||District 30||1978-80|
|Evelyn Clark||District 1||1980-82|
|Dorothy Moore||District 36||1982-83|
|Eloise Drake||District 36||1983-85|
|Sandra Moore||District 7||1985-87|
|Evelyn Larkins||District 2||1987-88|
|Elizabeth Randolph||District 7||1988-90|
|Kanet W. Thomas||District 36||1990-92|
|Susan K. Giboney||District 36||1992-94|
|Ruth N. Johnson||District 26||1994-95|
|Sonia Sorrell||District 36||1995-97|
|Claudia B. Sangster||District 36||1997-00|
|Tara C. Morrow||District 60||2000-01|
|Mary Alice Reed||District 4||2001-04|
|Gloria Alesso||District 13||2004-06|
|Sandy Dawson||District 36||2006-08|
|Edna Powell||District 7||2008-09|
|Sandy Stivers||District 7||2009-2010|
|Mary Jo Biggers||District 34||2010-2011|
|Edna Powell||District 7||2011-2013|
|Roxanne Lee||District 4||2013-present|