News & Features

Changing Lives

Katharine McDonough

Theatre professors at Pepperdine provide their students with a safe learning environment. I have felt the freedom to explore and take big risks without the fear of judgment or criticism. As a result, I believe I have not only grown in my confidence as a performer, but as a person as well. The relationships I have formed with both students and teachers are undoubtedly professional but also deeply personal. I not only have gained mentors, colleagues, and collaborators, but a supportive, loving family.

Music and Theatre Student, Seaver College

Learn more about the campaign goals of Seaver College.

Laurie Nelson

I love my work as the pre-health professions advisor—helping students succeed and achieve their dreams. Our natural science division is unique in that most of our professors conduct research side by side with undergraduates, guiding them on how to design projects, obtain results, and write up the research for presentation at local and national conferences. This work is crucial for our pre-med students because it helps to distinguish them from other med-school applicants. Many apply for MD/PhD programs, as well as prestigious scholarships like Fulbrights. They are successful in becoming the kind of physicians we all seek.

Associate Professor and Pre-Health Advisor, Seaver College

Learn more about the campaign goals of Seaver College.

Kate Suriyatip

Pepperdine gave me the opportunity to study in Florence, Italy, my sophomore year. I learned things that cannot be found in textbooks. I could walk down the street from the Pepperdine Villa to view Michelangelo's David and enjoy life's simplicity with Italian friends over a five-course meal. From this experience, I was able to travel to more than seven countries and learn about different cultures. I no longer view myself as a citizen of a particular country; rather, I am a citizen of the world. I am blessed to attend a university that provides endless opportunities for me to grow as a person.

Learn more about the campaign goals of Seaver College.

Nicole Johnson

The ABC Coach, or "appreciating strengths, blazing trails, and changing lives," started as a passion project in an entrepreneurship class in my doctoral program. My professor encouraged me to find my niche, brand myself differently, and be the "best" at something. So I developed a resource to help students map out their educational path using coaching strategies. What would I do if I were not afraid to fail? How much potential am I fulfilling compared to how much I have? As my professors taught me, when you become an "executive leader," the possibilities are endless.

EdD Student, Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Founder of The ABC Coach, Inc.

Learn more about the campaign goals of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology.

Charla Griffy-Brown

Our Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence enables innovation, providing business professionals with an education that is real, experiential, applied, and learner focused. Our goal is to use real-world technology and analytics, tightly integrated with the marketplace, to equip business practitioners to succeed. Support for the center is an investment in the transformative power of education, right where it is needed—in our students, our communities, and our future.

Associate Professor, Information Systems
Director, Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence
Graziadio School

Learn more about the campaign goals of the Graziadio School.

Marcus D. Hiles

When I enrolled in the Pepperdine PKE MBA program, I was just starting up a new business. Needless to say I needed additional skills, training, and coaching. The professors were highly experienced in realworld business, not just academic theory. Fortunately, the small classes, professors who were always available to bounce ideas off of, and successful, interesting classmates helped me succeed in my new venture. It eventually became a billion-dollar-in-assets business and many of my classmates became lifelong friends. I credit much of my business and personal success to my experience at Pepperdine and the PKE program.

Chair and CEO WRPS, LP and Mansions Custom Homes, Texas

Learn more about the campaign goals of the Graziadio School.

Barbara Jones

As a third-year law student, I was fortunate to be editor-in-chief of the Pepperdine Law Review, but the time commitment precluded me from accepting a part-time law clerk position to help defray some of my education expenses. Once I graduated, I wanted to do something to make it a bit easier for those who devote significant time to making the Law Review such an outstanding publication. With the guidance of Dean Phillips and others I was able to endow a scholarship to support our Law Review team. Today, as a partner in a major law firm and a single mother of two teenagers, I serve on three nonprofit boards, chair an ABA committee, and devote pro bono legal services to battered women and children. So, am I blessed? Absolutely!

Shareholder, Greenburg Taurig LLP

Learn more about the campaign goals of the School of Law.

Hans Zeiger

I did a lot of thinking about public service during my time at Pepperdine. Professor Gordon Lloyd's constitutional history course was a life-changing experience. He brought the American founding to life with his day-by-day review of the Constitutional Convention—its personalities, its central ideas, its compromises. At night, I would come back to my apartment and talk endlessly about politics with my roommates. Pepperdine was a great place to get my thoughts together about the relationship between ideas and policies.

Washington State Representative, 25th District

Learn more about the campaign goals of the School of Public Policy.

Angela Hawken

I love involving our students in my work. Every research project seems shiny and new when I experience it alongside a fresh young set of eyes. Whether it is their first interview with a prison inmate, or seeing their name on a publication for the first time, their enthusiasm and excitement is contagious. I have taught at other universities where class sizes were so large that students were merely numbers. Our small class sizes at Pepperdine allow us to develop personal relationships with our students that continue well beyond graduation. We know them well and are able to challenge them academically and guide them in their transition to their professional lives. The faculty approach at Pepperdine is unique. We balance head and heart. We faculty are often among the first people our graduates will contact to share happy news of a job promotion or a marriage or a baby. I am pleased to teach at a university where people matter.

Associate Professor, School of Public Policy

Learn more about the campaign goals of the School of Public Policy.

Wade Addison

As a student in a senior seminar, I sometimes spend roughly 50 hours each week in the library. It's important for the library to have a welcoming and warm atmosphere because it becomes a home away from home for us. Whether that means helping us get a caffeine boost at 3 a.m. or giving us a lounge area to take a break, the library renovations will be a tremendous blessing. These improvements are absolutely needed and I'm a little jealous of the students who will be able to work together and study in such a great place!

Learn more about the campaign goals of the Pepperdine University Libraries.

Christopher Wicker

In my current position, I'm accountable for a lot of key and sensitive information. The things that I learned at Pepperdine regarding ethics have taught me what I need to be a responsible citizen.

Plant Controller, Henkel of North America

Learn more about the campaign goals of the Center for Faith and Learning.

Jessica Rivera

Many people invested in me when I was just an undergrad at Pepperdine. Professor Tom Osborn heard my audition when I was a high school sophomore and offered me a scholarship when I applied. President David Davenport introduced me to Regent Flora Thornton, who expressed interest in supporting my graduate studies. Marnie Mitze gave me my first arts position on campus before I began my residency with the LA Opera. To this day, I receive notes from Pepperdine people telling me that they are praying for me as I continue to pursue my musical career. They fortify my spirit and remind me of the quality individuals who have poured themselves out for me that my cup would run over.


Learn more about the campaign goals of the Center for the Arts.

Jonathan Davis

Entertainment is arguably the most difficult field in which to achieve and maintain success. The connections I've made through my classmates, workshops put on by the graduate film organization Courier 12, and my professors—who are working industry-professionals currently, i.e. competition—have been invaluable. I've only been in California a year and already I've interacted with some of the most influential names in entertainment. Entertainment is a relationship business; it's about collaboration. Pepperdine knows this and is actively working to help its students form those relationships and get noticed.

MFA Student, Seaver College

Learn more about the campaign goals of the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture.

Katy Malone

Pepperdine students are so busy with clubs, organizations, and service projects, but there is still an overwhelming feeling of unity and connectedness to the campus. People here take time to check in on one another, buy a stranger lunch with their excess caf points, or just consistently hold the door open for whoever is behind them. These seem like little things, but that sense of community and caring is so comforting and has a way of making you a better person in the rest of your life.

Sociology Major, Seaver College

Learn more about the campaign goals of Mullin Town Square.

Sharon and Terry Mullin

Pepperdine has two sides to it: academic, of course; but then there's the side that helps to build character. Students have a different attitude at Pepperdine, and it's noticeable. We hope the Mullin Town Square will draw students together. One of the things you notice on college campuses are groups of students studying—under a tree somewhere, in the library. When I studied at Stanford, study groups met outside the classroom—a wonderful idea that worked miracles with some people. We hope that Pepperdine's Town Square will likewise provide seating, shade, beauty, and comfort for students who want to get together to study outside.

Namesakes, Mullin Town Square

Learn more about the campaign goals of Mullin Town Square.

Denise and Bob Beaman

We thought about this a lot, and there's no doubt that we made the right decision. We know that Pepperdine will maintain high levels of excellence academically and athletically, and it's where we feel our money will most help people. Pepperdine is a welcoming place, and we appreciate the Christian atmosphere. And if our kids were still high school age, we'd do everything to get them to go there.

Athletic scholarship donors through a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust

Learn more about why endowment matters.

Jonathan See

Pepperdine University offers so much value to its students, faculty, staff, and friends. To wake up each morning with a need to get to work and be part of a great mission is both energizing and fulfilling. My work in Information Technology is only a small part, but together with my colleagues across the entire campus, we do great things that define Pepperdine. We truly are its ambassadors.

Senior Director, Client Services, Information Technology

Learn more about the Faculty/Staff Campaign.

Timothy C. Phillips

Pepperdine has brought me deeper in faith, inspired me to make a difference in my community, and challenged me to live a life of significance and meaning. Professors and staff have modeled servant leadership, challenging my mind and strengthening my heart for a more fulfilling journey than I ever expected.

As a regent, I hope to preserve the culture that strives to teach and model those same qualities I was so blessed to receive.

CEO, Phillips & Company Securities
Vice Chair, The Campaign for Pepperdine

Learn more about the campaign leadership.

Kendra Meserve

As a 17-year-old girl, I had two life goals: travel the world and grow in God. I can, with confidence, tell others that Pepperdine has made my dreams come true. This university has sent me to remote villages in East Asia, Europe's largest metropolitan centers, and allowed me to see the face of Christ in every place I encounter. I attend one of the nation's top schools, but when my peers ask "How are you doing?" I am fully aware they care to know the answer. It is a blessing to strive academically in a community filled with a measure of love and encouragement previously unknown to me.

Learn more about the campaign goals of Seaver College.