The commitment to scholarship pervades the Pepperdine experience, with the primacy of learning, and teaching, the importance of research, and the search for truth consistently elevated among the University’s highest values.
Mentorship, collaboration, and support between remarkable professors and gifted students result in great achievements at Pepperdine; just one source of evidence is the proliferation of Pepperdine students awarded one of the world's most prestigious academic accolades, the Fulbright Scholarship. In 2005 Pepperdine graduate student Kari Filerman was named a Fulbright Scholar to study the Mexican banking system. The number for 2006 rose to two; five in 2008; five in 2009; and seven in 2010. In 2004 Seaver College launched its robust Cross-Disciplinary/ Interdisciplinary Research Program, and in 2009 Andrew Forcehimes became Pepperdine's first student finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.
With direction from provost Darryl Tippens, the University retained teachers, administrators, and practitioners at the top of their fields in this decade known as Pepperdine's "golden age of faculty hiring." Additions included new deans Linda Livingstone, Rick Marrs, Ken Starr, and Margaret Weber, as well as noted faculty Edward Larson, James Q. Wilson, Christopher Parkening, Angela Hawken, Rodney Honeycutt, and Tom Stipanowich. School of Public Policy professor James Q. Wilson was awarded the Bradley Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, while biologist Stephen Davis received the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching.
Faculty members hone their areas of expertise and students gain practical, learning experience through Pepperdine's many research centers and institutes. The School of Law, which was welcomed into the Order of the Coif in 2008, has been especially active with the creation of the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law; the Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics; the Wm. Byrne, Jr., Judicial Clerkship Institute; in addition to the ongoing national dominance of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, which has claimed the No. 1 ranking in the country for six years and counting. The Pat Lucas Center for Teacher Preparation, the Center for Applied Research, the Center for Teaching Excellence, and the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture, all recently formed, are also sources of cocurricular education for student and faculty.
The University also connects students with leading scholars and thinkers through the many visiting professorships and distinguished lectures series that were funded toward the latter half of the decade, including the Dean's Executive Leadership Series at the Graziadio School, the W. David Baird Distinguished Lecture Series at Seaver College, and the William French Smith Memorial Lectures at the School of Law, which hosted four U.S. Supreme Court justices in its first four years.
Recognizing the vital importance of facilities that simultaneously support academic rigor and the formation of community, Pepperdine entered the new decade with a steadfast commitment to expanding its unique campuses and challenging educational offerings.
Construction of the Drescher Graduate Campus was completed ahead of schedule and on budget; classes opened on-site in August 2003, providing a home base for the School of Public Policy and containing the full-time, residential programs of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, and the Graziadio School of Business and Management. Significant completions on the lower campus included the state-of-the-art Keck Science Center and the Center for Communication and Business, while renovations transformed Smothers Theatre, Elkins Auditorium, and Stauffer Chapel. A full-service hotel and conference center, known as the Villa Graziadio, and the Heroes Garden, a 9/11 memorial site, opened on the Drescher Graduate Campus.
Outside of Malibu, the headquarters of the Graziadio School and GSEP relocated westward from Pepperdine Plaza in Culver City to new facilities in the Howard Hughes Center in West Los Angeles. The new Irvine Graduate Campus at Lakeshore Towers and the Silicon Valley Graduate Center in San Jose both opened as well.
The international emphasis in the Pepperdine curriculum has continued to grow, offering students invaluable opportunities to expand their minds and hearts through a new global perspective. Permanent facilities opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2002; in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2007; and in Shanghai, China, in 2008. Numerous study abroad opportunities have been added, including programs in East Africa and Fiji. Closer to home, in 2009 Pepperdine opened a brand new facility in Washington, D.C., just four blocks west of the White House.
Pepperdine also has committed resources to developing the University's technological infrastructure, including the successful implementation of the PeopleSoft Enterprise Platform, expansion of wireless connectivity and broadband, and doubling of print and electronic library holdings since 2000.
Pepperdine University prioritizes the development of the whole student in the context of community and fellowship. Faculty, staff, and administrators dedicate themselves to caring for each individual during every transformational moment of the Pepperdine experience and beyond.
Student community life is inclusive, intellectually stimulating, and personally meaningful. New, annual traditions begun during President Benton's tenure—such as Rock the Brock, the Malibu campus Christmas tree lighting, Waves of Flags, CultureFest, and Reel Stories—celebrate community spirit and enhance the student experience. Improved faculty/student ratios facilitate personal interaction, while improvements to the libraries and the Mullin Town Square have provided space for the coming together of the Pepperdine community.
Continuing a tradition from its earliest days, Pepperdine University fosters "Waves
pride" and school spirit among its community members. Exceptional student-athletes
of the last decade have led the school to distinction, including 107 All-American honors
by 61 Waves players and 52 conference championships. Rising to national prominence,
the men's volleyball team won the NCAA Championships in 2005, and men's
captured its first-ever national championship in 2006.
The Pepperdine community extends far beyond graduation. In 2006 President Benton set forth a University-wide initiative to transform alumni engagement with Pepperdine and with one another. He reorganized Alumni Affairs, established the Alumni Leadership Council, encouraged "Waves Hiring Waves," and in 2009 launched Waves of Service, the movement to celebrate, support, and connect Pepperdine alumni committed to volunteerism and careers of service worldwide.
Pepperdine continues to attract, welcome, and support a diverse population. Within the last 10 years, the University has developed diversity initiatives to improve overall recruitment, retention, education, and access in order to increase understanding of different perspectives, cultures, and beliefs.
Diversity councils at Seaver College, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, and at the University level collaborate to create strategic plans and goals for diversity in alignment with Pepperdine's Christian mission and vision. This involves implementing programs that increase and enhance student, faculty, and staff diversity at all levels of the University, including speaker series for individuals to address the community on issues like ethnic diversity, vocation, and faith.
At the undergraduate level, Seaver College established the Office of Intercultural Affairs and created academic minors in the area of women's studies, ethnic studies, African American studies, and courses in environmental justice and social justice. Seaver's 2010 newly enrolled domestic first year and transfer students rose to 48 percent of students of color, an 18 percent increase since 2005.
At the graduate schools, the School of Public Policy participates in various diversity programs as a member of the Public Policy and International Affairs Program, sponsors an International Scholars Exchange, and supports a Women in Public Policy student group. The School of Law initiated the Global Justice program and sponsors numerous educational opportunities on diversity, law, and ethics, including the National Black Law Students Mock Trial Team Competition. The Graduate School of Education and Psychology has successfully developed cultural competencies throughout its curriculum, provided effective multicultural and leadership psychology training labs, and increased qualified psychology tenured/tenure-track faculty of color from 25 percent to 50 percent within the last five years. The Graziadio School of Business and Management partners with the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, National Black MBA Association, and National Association of Women MBAs to better serve its student community.
Other new additions to Pepperdine’s diverse landscape include the Cultural Heritage and Faith Series from the University Chaplain’s Office and the Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies, which engages the community to promote dialogue and understanding among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Under President Benton’s leadership Pepperdine has continued to attract influential leaders and impactful public figures with wideranging perspectives. Nobel Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus, First Lady Laura Bush, civil liberties attorney Alan Derschowitz, and scholar Cornel West are just some of the noted speakers to have visited Pepperdine in recent years.
Throughout its history, Pepperdine has embraced the unique balance between the claims of the academy and the call to Christian discipleship. Offerings like the JD/MDiv degree and the Global Justice Program support the blend of scholarship and faith that is essential to the Pepperdine experience.
In the earliest days of President Benton's presidency, Pepperdine launched the Center for Faith and Learning to offer support for faculty University-wide as they seek to enhance the connections between classroom teaching, scholarship, and Christian faith and practice. The center focuses on student programs, curricular enrichment, faculty development, ministry, as well as service and social action, to strengthen University's ties to its Christian mission. During the 2000s the Lilly Endowment supported an impactful five-year program known as the Pepperdine Voyage for the theological exploration of vocation as central to the goal of living for others. Today many of the Voyage programs continue under the robust Center for Faith and Learning, particularly the annual spiritual retreat for new faculty, hosted at one of the University's international campuses.
In 2010 Pepperdine dedicated the new Churches of Christ Heritage Center, a repository of books, documents, photographs, Christian periodicals, congregational histories, biographical studies, archival materials, and artifacts of Churches of Christ and the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. The center, established with support from the Pepperdine Libraries, is committed to the acquisition and preservation of these materials and to the promotion of research of this important religious movement and its affiliation with the University.
In 2007 Pepperdine launched "The Ascending Voice," an international symposium of sacred a cappella music. Other annual traditions continued to thrive at Pepperdine in the first decade of the 21st century, including the University's renowned Bible Lectures, the Frank Pack Distinguished Christian Scholar Lecture Program, and the William M. Green Distinguished Christian Scholar Lecture Program.