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Ed Biggers

Ed Biggers
Chair, Pepperdine University Board of Regents, 2004–present
One of the most important events of the last decade actually took place six months before it even began. David Davenport, in his final major act as Pepperdine's sixth president, presented the Board of Regents with a recommendation to adopt the Mission of Pepperdine University. On March 26, 1999, the Regents approved the statement. With this foundation, Pepperdine entered the decade with a real sense of optimism. Read the full message.

Tom Trimble

Tom Trimble
Chair, Pepperdine University Board of Regents, 2000-2004
From my vantage point as the former chair of the Building and Grounds Committee of the Board of Regents, the seeds of success of the last 10 years were planted decades ago when Andy Benton, then executive vice president, secured the permits to complete the development of the Malibu campus. Even then Andy was looking 20 years into the future, envisioning a complete campus with classroom space for graduate programs, recreational space for all students, better student housing, and an arena that would house nationally competitive teams. Read the full message.

Ed Biggers

Chair, Pepperdine University Board of Regents, 2004–present

A member of the Pepperdine University Board of Regents since 1983, Biggers has served on several regent committees over the years including the Executive Committee, Buildings and Grounds, Finance and Investments, Membership, and Religious Standards. He retired as president of Hughes Missile Group in 1994, having worked in various capacities with Hughes Aircraft since joining the company in 1960.

Ed Biggers

One of the most important events of the last decade actually took place six months before it even began. David Davenport, in his final major act as Pepperdine's sixth president, presented the Board of Regents with a recommendation to adopt the Mission of Pepperdine University. On March 26, 1999, the Regents approved the statement. With this foundation, Pepperdine entered the decade with a real sense of optimism.

When Andrew K. Benton was inaugurated the seventh president of Pepperdine University in 2000, the world seemed to be at peace and the promise of prosperity provided a backdrop of hope for Pepperdine's future. Then the decade began with a U.S. presidential election that came down to a few hanging chads in Florida and a Supreme Court decision that triggered a decade of harsh polarization. Just over a year into the new decade, the attacks of 9/11 presented new harsh realities and generated fear around the world. We spent most of the decade at war and the fallout from two global economic disasters was swift and severe. In hindsight, this has been a decade of adversity that no one fully anticipated—hardly the favorable environment for which we had hoped.

Even with this dim global backdrop, Pepperdine surged ahead with measured confidence. When faced with harsh external pressures, President Benton reacted with cool-headed, steady, conservative management of our resources and set about the business of building the University around the newly established mission statement.

Prior to the adoption of the mission statement, Pepperdine was more of a conglomerate. Since that time the mission statement has helped transition Pepperdine from five somewhat independent schools into a more unified institution—a true university. Construction of the graduate campus was a major factor in this unifying process. The fact that it was completed on time and under budget is reflective of Benton's astute fiscal management and leadership.

Having participated in the development of the mission statement, President Benton was quick to build upon its foundation. He immediately established five priorites in his inaugural address that were rooted to this set of values. Since then he has created a culture of accountability around the mission, and an alignment across all schools has been achieved to a degree greater than at any time in our history.

Under President Benton's leadership Pepperdine has been very intentional in selection of faculty that reflect and enhance the mission of the University. The careful selection of a provost and a slate of deans who understand the power of the mission and have committed themselves to implementing it has been critical to Pepperdine's success over the last decade.

We have seen that our mission to achieve the highest standards of academic excellence in the context of a Christian worldview fits Pepperdine nicely. We have further to go before we can claim victory, but for the first time in Pepperdine's history, this value system has become part of our DNA. Very few universities have the capacity and will to lead in this distinctive approach to integrating faith and reason.

As we look ahead, we see significant challenges looming on the horizon. The dismal economic conditions show no signs of improving anytime soon, placing our graduate programs at some risk. The need for scholarships and financial aid at each of our schools has never been greater. Meanwhile, to remain competitive Pepperdine must continue to improve its distinctive offering without incurring significant debt or significantly raising tuition. In the near term, the new capital campaign will give us the support to reach our goals. In the long term, Pepperdine will need to rely more heavily upon its alumni base to strengthen and secure the future. Given what I see coming from our alumni, I would say that Pepperdine's future looks promising.

Indeed the future has already started. Many of our programs have become national leaders in their fields over the last decade. We continue to be recognized nationally as a top-tier institution and our global presence is growing. Since 2000, we have been able to attract highly qualified scholars and students who share a passion for our mission. Our global presence has expanded significantly with the addition of facilities in Buenos Aires, Lausanne, and Shanghai. Today's Pepperdine graduate is more spiritual, more thankful, more committed to service, and better prepared to face a competitive world than in any time in our history. Nothing excites me more about Pepperdine than the continued improvement in the quality of our graduates.

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Tom Trimble

Chair, Pepperdine University Board of Regents, 2000-2004

A member of the Pepperdine University Board of Regents since 1981, Trimble has served as secretary of the board, chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and as a member of the Religious Standards Committee and the Executive Committee. He was also a longtime member of the Pepperdine University School of Law Board of Visitors. For 27 years Trimble had a private practice in Phoenix, Arizona, before becoming senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Southwest Gas Corporation, where he served for almost 10 years.

Tom Trimble

From my vantage point as the former chair of the Building and Grounds Committee of the Board of Regents, the seeds of success of the last 10 years were planted decades ago when Andy Benton, then executive vice president, secured the permits to complete the development of the Malibu campus. Even then Andy was looking 20 years into the future, envisioning a complete campus with classroom space for graduate programs, recreational space for all students, better student housing, and an arena that would house nationally competitive teams.

During the last 10 years, the Drescher Graduate Campus was delivered on time and under budget. New graduate campuses were opened in West Los Angeles and in Irvine. The Center for Communication and Business was completed and provided a new home for one of our most popular programs and the Mullin Town Square added much needed community space, as well as state-of-the-art classrooms. Clearly, Andy Benton had come to the presidency prepared to lead immediately. He was a president with a blueprint for the future.

Later, as chair of the Board of Regents, I came to realize that Andy's vision was much more expansive than simply completing the Malibu campus and improving graduate facilities. As president he was determined to move Pepperdine to national and global prominence. Under Andy's leadership we identified some of the most prominent universities in the nation as our competitors. We set out to equal their performance in all areas while at the same time strengthening our commitment to our heritage of faith. Andy's goals are still large and many are still out of reach, but he foresaw the future over 20 years ago that he is forming today.

The last decade has given us a glimpse of what is possible in Pepperdine’s future. By nearly every measurement we have become more competitive. Seaver College, the Graziadio School, the School of Public Policy, and the Graduate School of Education and Psychology are each competing nationally and no law school in the nation is moving to the top-tier as quickly as the School of Law. Over all, our athletic teams are outperforming most schools of our size and many universities that are much larger. Imagine what these programs can do if they are resourced more appropriately.

That, of course, is the great challenge for Pepperdine. Just as we were planning to launch the next major capital campaign in 2008, a campaign that would provide even more facilities and scholarships for our students, the global economic environment took a severe and negative turn and the campaign was put on hold. Like most universities in the U.S., Pepperdine’s endowment suffered a sizable loss. The administration met this economic challenge—the second in a decade—head on, minimized the loss, and prepared for several years of financial instability. Pepperdine was schooled by two major economic storms and is prepared to move forward in the next decade, even in the midst of an unfavorable economic environment. Andy’s team has instilled confidence within the Board of Regents to launch a campaign in the very near future.

During the last decade, we have benefited from the generosity of many friends and alumni who share Pepperdine's values and have supported Pepperdine's aspirations. The next decade will require even greater support and sacrifice from all who love Pepperdine and wish to see her grow.

I am especially encouraged by the participation of alumni in building Pepperdine's future. The University’s relationship with alumni from both George Pepperdine College and the five schools of today has improved tremendously over the last 10 years. The University has listened carefully to the desires and concerns of the alumni and has made efforts to respond. My personal dream is that by the end of the decade we will see 100 percent participation and contribution from our alumni; that 100 percent will be participating in service and chapters, and that there will be 100 percent increased personal pride in Pepperdine University.

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