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Office of the President

Envisioning a Bold Future

"If you want to build a ship then don’t drum up men to gather wood, give orders,
and divide the work. Rather, teach them to yearn for the far and restless and endless sea . . ."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Introduction

Pepperdine University is planning now for the university it will emerge to be during the 21st century. These are exciting times, marked by dramatic change and growth. Our aspirations are great and our confidence is high. We are emboldened by a strong sense of mission, and we are encouraged by plans made years ago that have led us to this moment in time.

Central to Pepperdine's planning for the future is its commitment to change while in certain aspects remaining changeless. This is a Christian university and in that statement certain anchor points are established. Perhaps reference to the sea is relevant to this particular university, one that is informed and guided by immutable precepts, since the changing tides and prevailing winds will certainly challenge our moorings and headings. If they hold, if the anchor is set well at night and the sails are trimmed during the day, the institution will move and respond to new challenges and new influences, all the while holding firm to our values, immutable principles, and to faith.

The purpose of this document is to chart the course for the next decade, and beyond. In the year 2012, Pepperdine University will celebrate its 75th anniversary. Over the next eleven years there will be change, there will be improvement, there will be strengthening, and there will surely be challenges. Our vision will inspire our planning, and our planning will enable our progress. Our expectations are great; we dream no small dreams.

In the past, similar planning has taken place and we, as an institution, are the beneficiaries of that important and lasting work. We now find ourselves the stewards of the future. Fortunately, we no longer need to tout balanced budgets, terminal degrees among faculty, modern facilities, and full accreditations, for these are assumed. This University is poised to move beyond foundational achievements to assume a position of leadership in American higher education.

This document, in part, should equip members of our University community to answer the question: What are the aspirations of the University and how will these aspirations be achieved? In many respects, it would be a far simpler task to just point to schools we admire, but that would limit our innovation and our outreach. We are not compelled to fit the mold of another artisan. Our plan is to achieve academic distinction in all of our programs and to maintain fidelity to our mission. Evidence of both goals abound today and will abound to an even greater extent in 2012.

The Mission Statement approved by the Board of Regents on March 29, 1999, provides a strong sense of who we are and a glimpse of what we hope to become: "Pepperdine is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership."

The vision captured in this document, Envisioning a Bold Future, builds on the Inaugural Address delivered on September 23, 2000, which told of “promises to keep” and the need first "to look deep and then to look far." While the transition to a new administration brings inevitable change, commitment to the core mission of the University remains unchanged.

Further, this document builds upon our Mission Statement, articulating the specific ways in which our mission can be more fully realized in the next decade. A university is composed of a plurality of voices, each important and compelling, yet we must finally share common goals and aspirations. To this end, we ask each member of the University community to participate in ongoing conversations about this document and the accompanying action plan, and finally, to find some element of the vision and plan for which he or she will take personal responsibility.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

Robert Frost