News & Features
Celebrating Heroes, Heroines, and 75 Years
Pepperdine's worldwide family came together on March 24, 2012, as the University celebrated 75 years of changing lives at the 36th annual Pepperdine Associates dinner. Set at world-famous Warner Bros. Studios, Pepperdine transformed the studio's fabled New York street into a look decidedly more Los Angeles, hearkening back nearly eight decades to Pepperdine's halcyon days in South L.A.
Distinguished alumni Michelle (JD '89) and Mark (JD '88) Hiepler chaired Pepperdine's anniversary celebration, with former Pepperdine first lady Helen Young ('39) serving as the evening's honorary chair. "This year's Associates dinner was an evening filled with inspiration and a worthy tribute to the Pepperdine we love," said Michelle. "I am certain it infused the Campaign for Pepperdine with fresh momentum."
Hollywood magic was all around as 900 guests, coming off the red carpet, were greeted by the tunes of the Pepperdine Pep Band, boarded VIP studio trams, toured the Warner Bros. Museum, or reunited with friends or fellow alumni. A special exhibit showcased memorabilia, films, and photos from Pepperdine's yesteryears.
Among the brightest stars of the evening was current student Demi McCoy, a Seaver College sophomore and Posse Foundation scholar. A member of the Genesis Gospel Choir and gifted poet, Demi delivered the evening's devotional through powerful verse to the crowded streets of alumni and friends.
"On these storied streets where stars are born and movies are made, we honor you, our 1,860 Associates, as Pepperdine's 'supporting cast,'" said Keith Hinkle (JD '97), senior vice president for advancement and public affairs. "Each of our Pepperdine Associates fills a different role. In the life of an independent institution like Pepperdine, we would not be where we are today without all of you."
Pepperdine president Andrew K. Benton spoke on the vault of Warner Bros. superheroes and the common element of sacrifice in the "hero's journey." He suggested that Pepperdine's narrative is no different. "Sacrifice is at the heart of every Pepperdine story we tell," he said, recounting transformative champions like Blanche Seaver. "Blanche was all in, holding nothing back. She fully invested herself in the Pepperdine dream and made it happen."
And as Pepperdine drafts its own script for the future to transform higher education, Pepperdine's CEO reminded his audience that in order to build upon the University's largest campaign ever, a new cast of characters will be required. "Each Pepperdine generation depends upon generous men and women to support the daily journey," he said. "But each generation also depends upon a unique set of heroes who hold nothing back. They see the future—before anyone else—and decide to pursue it relentlessly."