News & Features
Farewell 75! Pepperdine Concludes Anniversary Year with Historic Founder's Day
By Nate Ethell ('08)
Until next time! Pepperdine University bid farewell to its yearlong 75th anniversary celebration at a historic Founder's Day convocation on September 19, 2012. The annual event commemorates the dedication of George Pepperdine College on September 21, 1937, and signals the opening of the new academic year each fall. This year's ceremony closed a full year of events, activities, and public displays that celebrated 75 years of progress with the University's worldwide community.
In addition to the colorful procession of University regents, board members, faculty, alumni, and international student representatives, this year's march included appearances from six distinguished Pepperdine Olympic athletes and coaches: Sarah Attar, Terrezene Brown ('67), Marv Dunphy ('74), Gary Sato ('78), Terry Schroeder ('81), and Marilyn White. Since 1956, 52 members of the Pepperdine family have competed or coached in the Olympic Games.
The ceremony also featured student and alumni readers who recited memorable messages from distinguished individuals who have contributed to the unfolding narrative of the University. Unique among them was Stephen Louderback, great-grandson of George Pepperdine and a fourth-year student at Seaver College, who read a quote by his great-grandfather from June 1937—just three months before the new college opened.
In Founder's Day tradition, George Pepperdine's original dedicatory address was delivered, this year by President Emeritus William S. Banowsky, fourth president of Pepperdine. Guests in attendance also were treated to a special 75th Anniversary Year in Review video presentation and a musical presentation of "Call of the Champions" by John Williams, led by conductors Tony W. Cason and Ryan A. Board.
As President Andrew K. Benton looked back on Pepperdine in his annual address, he concluded that Pepperdine's 75-year history is not unlike a race. "In the flourish of … our work in higher education, we must never forget the importance of 'faster, higher, and stronger,'" President Benton told the audience of nearly 3,000. "We run our unique race because we believe in differences that matter, people who matter, and a heritage that matters."
Following a festive tented lunch at Alumni Park, the University later welcomed home Dolores, the iconic cherub statuette installed on the original Los Angeles campus four years after the school's founding. Often adorned with various hues of paint and costumes, Dolores was also a victim of several kidnappings, until the 1980s when she was unable to find her way back to campus.
Molded to her original 1941 form, the statue was unveiled with the help of students Christie Myers and Alex Fischler, presidents of the Student Government Association and Student Alumni Association, respectively, and George Pepperdine College alumni Allie Tegner ('47, MA '68) and Jim McGoldrick ('66). Professor McGoldrick also helped move Dolores from the Los Angeles campus to Malibu in 1982 during the 10th anniversary celebration of the Malibu campus.
The new statue, like Founder's Day, is symbolic of traditions that inspire Pepperdine's next generation of students. "In the life of every university, even ones as young as ours, traditions are a touchstone that unites students with alumni," President Benton reflected. "By handing down sacred customs, rituals, and beliefs from class to class and generation to generation, academic institutions like Pepperdine are able to uniquely connect past, present, and future."