News and Events
Pepperdine Athletics Complex Named for Chancellor Emeritus Charles B. Runnels
Charles and Amy Jo Runnels
Pepperdine University Chancellor Emeritus Charles B. Runnels—who has long been a supporter of Pepperdine Athletics—was honored in a ceremony on Monday, Sept. 13, as the Waves’ athletics complex was dedicated as the "Charles B. Runnels Sports and Recreation Village.”
Runnels can regularly be found at events in Firestone Fieldhouse, sitting in the first row behind the scorers’ table. His Pepperdine career began in 1967 by serving on a committee whose work resulted in the establishment of the Malibu campus in 1971. He served as vice chancellor from 1971 to 1984, at which time he became chancellor. In 2006, he assumed the role of Chancellor Emeritus.
During the evening ceremony, a large stone monument—which measures 20 feet wide and five feet tall—and plaque was unveiled at the corner of John Tyler Drive and Banowsky Boulevard. The Waves’ athletic facilities—Firestone Fieldhouse, Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool, Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center, Eddy D. Field Stadium, Tari Frahm Rokus Field and Stotsenberg Track—are now a part of the Runnels Village and are all found by heading up John Tyler Drive.
President Andrew Benton addressed the 200 or so guests in attendance, which included the majority of the Waves’ coaches and athletics staff, commenting on Runnels’ career at Pepperdine. “His fingerprints are all over this campus, and now his thumbprint will be at the corner of John Tyler Drive and Banowsky Boulevard.” Benton described Runnels as Pepperdine’s chief “friend-raiser.”
Chancellor Emeritus Charles Runnels
To give the student-athlete’s perspective about Runnels’ involvement with athletics, men’s basketball player Gus Clardy shared a memory of Runnels' passion for Pepperdine athletics. Clardy, a Regents’ Scholar and a WCC All-Academic honoree, shares the same hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas, with Runnels remembered a game in which he heard someone yelling at him about rebounding, and assumed it was head coach Tom Asbury. When he turned around, he realized it was Runnels.
Runnels thanked his family and friends, adding: “My prayer for our athletes and coaches and each one of you is that your lives would be filled with the joy of sport, the thrill of victory, and the spirit of teamwork in all that you do. Thank you all, and especially my dear friend Ginny Braun, for the vision and dream to make this village come true for Pepperdine students and for all of you who come to enjoy our sports.”
"I think that having the name of Charles Runnels headlining the entire village is an anchor for Athletics,” says John Watson, director of athletics. “We are in complete harmony with his vision and dreams that student-athletes have their athletic talents challenged and enhanced while they focus upon their development intellectually, social, physically and spiritually.”For more information and to watch videos from the ceremony, visit pepperdinesports.com.