Pepperdine University has announced three new additions to its 40-member Board of Regents, the governing board of the University. Peter James Johnson, Jr., Kimberly Lindley, and John Plueger have accepted the role of helping to shape the direction of the University. In addition, Pepperdine’s fourth president, William S. Banowsky, has been named Life Regent.
Texas-born William S. Banowsky served from 1971 to 1978 as the fourth president of Pepperdine University, acknowledged as one of the country's youngest college presidents and the guiding force who envisioned—with third president M. Norvel Young—the making of the "miracle at Malibu."
Dr. Banowsky joined the college in 1959 as assistant professor of communications and assistant to the president, and later as dean of students, while preaching at the South Gate Church of Christ and pursuing a Ph.D. He departed in 1964 to become minister of the 2,000-member Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, returning to Pepperdine in 1968 to help create an ambitious master plan that included a new campus, an interdisciplinary curriculum, and professional and graduate programs.
Dr. Banowsky guided Pepperdine's development from a small, urban college in South Central Los Angeles to a major university on the Pacific Rim, elevating it from economic uncertainty to assets of $125 million and a student body approaching 8,000.
While his presidential term concluded in 1978 when he accepted the presidency of the University of Oklahoma, he remained engaged with Pepperdine and continued his membership on the Board of Regents. As President Emeritus he served on the Academic Affairs, Advancement, Compensation, Development, Membership, Public Affairs, Religious Standards, and Finance & Administration committees, providing both historic perspective and vision.
Beyond his presidency and board service, Dr. Banowsky earned a Pepperdine master's degree in clinical psychology. He is recognized for the 1976 launch of the Pepperdine Associates; his widely read memoir, The Malibu Miracle; and for generous gifts with his wife Gay to the Associated Women for Pepperdine, the Regents Scholarship Fund, the M. Norvel and Helen Young Center, and the Banowsky Chair in Religion at Seaver College. He and Gay have four sons and 14 grandchildren.
Peter James Johnson, Jr., is president of Leahey & Johnson, P.C., a Wall Street law firm. He has earned a reputation for excellence as a trial lawyer and appellate lawyer in complex tort litigation, commercial and corporate litigation, products liability, professional liability, insurance law, and corporate and constitutional litigation. His expertise and success in the law have earned him Martindale-Hubbell's highest rating–"AV"–and he has been named a "Super Lawyer" in the New York City metropolitan area.
Johnson serves as chair of the Appellate Division's First Department Committee on Character and Fitness and as a member of the Governor's Judicial Screening Panel for the appointment of Supreme Court and Appellate Division Justices. In the wake of the 2000 presidential election, he was appointed by Governor George Pataki to chair the bipartisan New York State Task Force on Election Modernization, which was widely praised for its reform recommendations.
Admitted to practice law in the states of New York and New Jersey and in federal courts in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and other jurisdictions, Johnson is a member of the City Bar Association, having served on its committee responsible for passing on the qualifications of applicants for the judiciary in New York State and the federal courts. He is a member of the New York County Lawyers Association and the American Bar Association and has published scholarly articles on tort and insurance topics in the New York State Bar Association Journal and the Commercial Damages Reporter. He is also a legal, policy, and media analyst for the FOX News Channel.
Johnson is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia University's School of Law. He is married to the former Blanche Kwas, formerly a director of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities and a social worker. They have two children, Blanche, a rising junior at Seaver College, and Veronica, who will be entering Seaver College in August.
In 2008, as Lindley's two eldest children entered Seaver College, Lindley's new, exciting role as a Pepperdine parent propelled her to pursue diverse avenues of contribution to the university. Inspired by the intellectual and spiritual transformation experienced by her daughters, Lindley and her husband, Don, the president of natural gas liquids business development at Kinder Morgan, established a relationship with Pepperdine and continue to build bonds with others that share a common love for the University and its mission.
Lindley completed a Bachelor of Science degree in education at Abilene Christian University before engaging in graduate level work in learning disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The Lindleys have served on the Seaver Parents Council, where they were cochairs throughout the 2010-11 school year. They have hosted numerous Pepperdine sendoffs in the Houston and Austin areas while residing in the Lone Star State with their four children, Evanne and Alanna ('12), Caroline, rising Seaver junior, and Joseph, rising high school senior.
His professional experience includes testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives as an aircraft leasing industry expert witness as well as responding to European Commission formal inquiries concerning aerospace industry related mergers and acquisitions.
Plueger is also a Certified Public Accountant, having received his training from PriceWaterhouse early in his career. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, he became a Certified Director through the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management's Corporate Director Certification Program.
Plueger is a member of the board of directors of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and also serves on the board of directors of the Wings Club and several other charitable organizations.
His father attended Pepperdine University in its early years, and his son is currently an undergraduate at Pepperdine.
To learn more about the 40-member Board of Regents, view the full list.