There are seven mountain peaks or summits coveted by all who climb into the clouds, who seek to do what few have accomplished. Tenzing Norgay, a storied mountain climber, wrote these words at 27,000 feet:
"We look up. For weeks, for months, that is all we have done. Look up. And there it is—the top of Everest. Only it is different now; so near, so close, only a little more than a thousand feet above us. It is no longer just a dream, a high dream in the sky, but a real and solid thing, a thing made of rock and snow, that men can climb. We make ready. We will climb it. This time, with God’s help, we will climb on to the end."
Norgay was joined by Sir Edmund Hillary and they, together, stood on the top of the world on May 28, 1953.
Our summits occur on commencement days—mountaintops of a different kind. Our heights are merely way stations, as the opportunities in higher education grow greater and greater in height and expectation. Still, we climb and sometimes even find paths of our own choosing, separate from those who climb alongside and with just as much determination.
As a university we are tied together through mission, through the commitments we make to our colleagues, and, especially, our students. We climb together. We climb with and for each other because we aspire to higher and better things. We believe our horizons are boundless.
This statement about the next few years is meant to open the dialogue to choosing challenging goals, to finding the right paths, to making Pepperdine better not just in 2020, but in 2050 and beyond. Let the conversation begin, and may it be attended by prayer and a confidence worthy of our faith every step of the way.