News and Events
Shannon Meairs: The Brain Behind The Scholar
By Jaclyn Tully
Pepperdine alumna Shannon Meairs has joined that elite group of men and women who know what it’s like to pitch a network television show and see it actually come to fruition.
When ABC’s The Scholar premiered on June 6, Meairs had the rare pleasure of seeing a very large dream materialize on a very large stage.
Her premise for the show dealt with something the 2000 Seaver graduate knew well – the secrets of getting into a choice college and figuring out how to pay for it.
Going through the application process at Pepperdine, Shannon faced the financial challenges that most students face, but her indomitable spirit kept her looking for ways to attend the college of her choice. Her hard work paid off as she earned a Pepperdine grant and various other scholarships and student loans to enable her to attend school.
Once at Pepperdine, Meairs immersed herself in campus life. She joined Pi Beta Phi, worked with the Student Alumni Organization (SAO), participated in the Heidelberg program, and was a head counselor for New Student Orientation.
Working with SAO, Meairs even delivered birthday cakes and care packages to students. She served as SAO president her junior and senior year. Her experience developed an affinity in her for both current and prospective students of Pepperdine which drove her to apply for a full-time job in the Pepperdine Admission Office after graduation.
She found it gratifying to be involved in a pivotal point in a young person’s life as they prepared for higher education. “I put my heart and my life into the admissions process. To me it wasn’t just a job, it was a calling.” She traveled to various high schools making herself available to students and their families to help navigate their way through all the deluge of information.
One day, Shannon got the idea to make a reality show about the admission process with the winner of the show, getting a full-ride scholarship to the school of their choice. Coincidentally, Shannon had a good friend from church that also had experience as a college admissions officer. In June of 2004, the two teamed up with television producers Joan Stein and Steve Martin and developed a show that they would soon pitch to various networks. The final product, The Scholar, premiered on June 6 on ABC and will run each Monday for the following six weeks.
Through the production of the show, Meairs and Pace acted on another brainstorm. In the Fall of 2004, they launched Full Ride, a consulting company, which offers high school students and their families insights on college admission processes. And Meairs and Pace haven’t stopped there. They are in the midst of writing a book on college admissions.
Though it has been a busy and thrilling year, Shannon shares one of her greatest moments. “I was able to attend graduation for the first Seaver class that I admitted at Pepperdine. It was a pretty amazing time to be there seeing them graduate college, knowing that I had been there with them when they were juniors in high school.”