News and Events
President Andrew K. Benton Travels Historic Route 66
Pepperdine University president Andrew K. Benton is taking a road trip this summer on historic U.S. Route 66 to explore what people are saying along "America's Main Street" about their nation, institutions, communities, and families.
The trip will take place July 14 to July 22, 2008 with stops planned in Joliet, Funks Grove, and Springfield, Illinois; Rolla and Joplin, Missouri; Riverton, Kansas; Miami, Weatherford, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Shamrock and Amarillo, Texas; Santa Fe and Grants, New Mexico; and Flagstaff, Arizona before returning to California.
Benton, the 2008 chair of the American Council on Education, says the 2,400-mile Route 66 journey is a way to connect with people along the "Mother Road" as John Steinbeck called it, "and invite them to speak about their values, hopes, and dreams."
"I have been given a wonderful opportunity to serve at Pepperdine for nearly 25 years and am mid-way through my one-year term as chair of the American Council on Education," Benton says. "If I can use that vantage point to comment on what such a significant portion of America would like to say to those of us privileged to help shape the education of the world's future leaders, I will feel the journey has been productive."
Benton plans to meet with educators, parents, business people, and church and civic leaders along a road that is more of an outdoor museum than the vital transportation artery it once was. Nevertheless Route 66 occupies a special place in America's history and for many people driving the road from its beginning in Chicago to its end-point in Santa Monica, California is a quest, one that Benton fulfilled in 2007.
"My first trip in the summer of 2007 - made alone, with no particular agenda - convinced me I needed to do it again the following year, and have conversations with people along the timeless route about things that are timeless to them."
To follow Benton's journey, please visit http://www.pepperdine.edu/route66/. Read his notes from the road, check out his music playlist, learn about Route 66, and more. All are welcome to share inquiries and observations.