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Alumni Leader Bob Clark Reaches out to Fellow Graduates
“I take personally everything George Pepperdine believed,” says alumnus Bob Clark. A few years ago, when their eldest son entered Seaver College as a freshman, Clark (GSBM ’79) and his wife, Amy, felt like the University was an annex of their home and the values by which they had raised all of their children.
“George Pepperdine once said that the University is ‘an extension of the Christian home in providing higher education under such influence as will strengthen and deepen the student’s faith in God,’” Clark explained recently. “As an alumnus and as a parent, I am proud of the university’s heritage. My wife joins me in this pride.”
The Denver alumni chapter, the Mile High Waves, was in the early stages of development when the Clarks joined and added their enthusiasm and hard work to that of others who were already involved. “By engaging both alumni and the parents of students and alumni, we creatively plan events that don’t cost much and are easy to organize,” Clark said. From dinner parties to work projects, the chapter has come together to celebrate being all things Pepperdine.
For Bob Clark, the road to Pepperdine was paved with the same kind of intelligence, eagerness, and dedication that launched the Denver Mile High Waves. After earning his bachelor's degree in microbiology from Cal State Long Beach, Clark turned his attention to business and pursued a career in information technology. He earned an Executive MBA from the Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management, and currently works with the Denver-based managed service group, CH2M HILL. There, he consults with C-level executives in mid-size companies and provides IT-managed services that help companies align their strategic initiatives with their IT portfolios. All told, he has more than 35 years of executive management experience in large high technology companies.
But Clark's work isn’t strictly 9 to 5, nor is it confined to his office. He considers community service as an important part of his life vocation. In addition to serving as a community volunteer in his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, he has assumed an important new responsibility in the Pepperdine alumni community.
President Benton formed the Pepperdine University Alumni Leadership Council (ALC) in Fall 2006, and recognizing Clark's leadership in the Mile High Waves, named him as its president. Comprised of graduates from all five schools, the council seeks to create better affinity among alumni and with the University by addressing their specific needs. He notes, "The challenge is to think creatively about those needs and the gifts the people have to offer, and work with that."
Additional council goals include enhancing career opportunities for alumni, especially at the time of graduation; bolstering alumni chapters to increase their visibility in their regions; and developing a strategic plan to encourage volunteerism and leadership among alumni.
George Pepperdine once issued a challenge to all alumni, declaring that they have one life to live and they should work diligently to carry out the ideals set before them when they attended the University. “I understand that challenge,” Clark notes. “My involvement in the Denver Chapter, and now in the ALC, is my way of accepting Mr. Pepperdine’s challenge.”
Explaining his great affection for Pepperdine, Clark also credits the University with helping him to build his Christian character and the faith to weather difficult times. "To this day," he says, "I am encouraged to stand by the business ethics that I learned from my professors almost thirty years ago. I’m inspired that the University has not abandoned George Pepperdine’s dream, and that it is still committed to the highest standards of academic education and Christian values.”
Family involvement has increased the personal connection Clark feels for Pepperdine, as well as his sense of responsibility. Clark's two sons are now enrolled in Seaver College, and his wife is heavily involved in the Seaver College Parents Program. He observes: "Amy loves Pepperdine as much as I do. She loves what the Seaver College Parents Program does for parents and enjoys working with the University staff members to make it great. Truly, Pepperdine is a family project for us."
But Clark’s commitment comes not only from the relationship he and his family share with Pepperdine. “I’m concerned about future generations,” he notes, and admonishes the University to remain true to the George Pepperdine vision. Clark’s mantra is all about future generations and the responsibility of current alumni to prepare for that future by acting now to strengthen lives for purpose, service, and leadership.
These days, Clark is looking forward to visiting his alma mater for Homecoming 2007, held on the Malibu campus from Friday, Feb. 16, to Sunday, Feb. 18. He plans to reconnect with old friends, cheer on Waves athletes, explore what's new at Pepperdine, and, most of all, celebrate the school he calls home.
by Lyric Hassler