History | Pepperdine University

History


George Pepperdine with first graduating class - Pepperdine University

George Pepperdine's motto: "Freely ye received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8)

Waves of Service is a community of students, family, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the University who are inspired by our heritage and our founder's faith and vision. George Pepperdine envisioned an institution that would transform students' lives so that they would, in turn, impact culture.  He imaged a vast body of alumni--men and women conscious of their good fortune, recipients of the generous gift of a Christian education--who would feel the moral imperative to serve others sacrificially.

Mr. Pepperdine had always exercised a spirit of generosity and charity, and was a man who understood himself as a steward and caretaker of the assets that God had entrusted to him. That sense of stewardship matured into a call of destiny when he observed the alarming rate at which Christian young men and women lost interest in their faith after going on to higher education. He determined that he would dedicate his fortune to creating and endowing a college that would provide the best education possible, managed by administrators and taught by professors who would support students in their Christian belief.

On September 21, 1937 (commemorated annually as Founder's Day) George Pepperdine College was opened and dedicated, a mere seven months after Pepperdine had decided to go ahead with construction in February. In November of that same year, Pepperdine addressed the students and first set out what continues to guide Pepperdine University's educational philosophy and policy to this day:

"There are many good colleges and universities which can give you standard academic training, but if our school does not give you more than that, it really has no reason to exist. The great difference between this college and other colleges is that we are endeavoring to place adequate emphasis and greater stress upon religious teaching and Christian character. We want to present to you, in teaching and example, the Christian way of life. We do not compel you to accept it. You are free to make your own choice, but we want you to know what it is."

Because we have freely received this rich heritage, we believe that each and every one of us are called to have a life of purpose by serving others.