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Alumni Deanne and John Lewis Connect Mission, Giving, and the Pursuit of Excellence


More than three decades have passed since Seaver alumni Deanne ('84) and John ('83) Lewis began their Pepperdine legacy, but if someone were to ask them, they might reply that they are just getting started.

"As Pepperdine students, we met through our roommates, who were common friends between us. Deanne was a bit resistant to go out, but she gave in eventually!" exclaimed John. With Pepperdine to thank for their relationship, and while Deanne was finishing her bachelor's degree, they married in Stauffer Chapel in June 1984, with future Pepperdine president David Davenport officiating.

Since then the Sierra Madre residents have steadfastly remained engaged as alumni, impassioned by Pepperdine's mission to change lives. "What resonates most for us is the sense of mission that flows through Pepperdine, which we hope is reflected in our own lives as well," said Deanne. "To be fully committed to Christ and focused on excellence is a powerful combination to express that commitment," added John.

Realizing the powerful impact of their own experiences as students, Deanne and John began giving back to Pepperdine soon after graduating, hoping to create something equally profound for the classes that would follow them. "We've long been inspired by Chancellor Emeritus Charlie Runnels and his focus on young people," Deanne said. "Our hope is to see them transformed for a lifetime of purpose, service, and leadership. To that end, we try to connect the dots between our giving and how the specific experiences that we are empowering advance that mission."

Today Deanne is a member of the University Board and founding member of the Alumni Leadership Council. John, CEO of Eugene Lewis & Associates, CPAs, recently accepted one of his most significant roles at Pepperdine as co-chair of the Seaver College campaign committee. "With this role, I have the opportunity to lend a small hand in moving forward Pepperdine's mission," John explained. "Charlie often talks about planting trees whose shade we will never enjoy. By moving the campaign forward, we can plant trees that many future generations of Waves will enjoy."

As the Lewis connection at Pepperdine grows stronger, with son Tim ('10) a recent graduate and daughter Mindy having recently completed her freshman year, Deanne and John are eager to see their support assist students in their pursuit of excellence. "Giving to Pepperdine has tremendous leverage, bringing all the pieces of the Pepperdine experience together," reflected John. "In turn, students are prepared to have a disproportionate impact on the world for decades to come."