Pepperdine Voice Magazine
Lessons From the Road
Endless stretches of highway. A carefully chosen CD collection. Hours alone for reflection behind the wheel of a perfectly tuned automobile.
To some, this sounds like the ideal road trip. It did to me last summer when I took an unforgettable personal journey along America's historic Route 66. The "Mother Road," as John Steinbeck named it, called to me again this year, so I returned for another remarkable learning experience.
But this trip was different.
Throughout the journey I conversed with Main Street America on the subject of higher education. I wanted to know if those of us entrusted with the leadership of colleges and universities are responding to the hopes and dreams of Middle America. To find out I asked educators, parents, business people, church and civic leaders, and groups of alumni in three different cities what they thought.
I listened carefully to these rich conversations and learned more than I had anticipated about the hopes, values, and dreams of my new friends along the way.
I also learned a few tricks myself. My travelling companions—intrepid and talented colleagues, many of whom are Pepperdine graduates—helped me record the experience in photos and video. An occasional journal writer, I officially entered the blogosphere (www.pepperdine.edu/route66/).
In this issue of Pepperdine Voice you'll read about other members of the Pepperdine community who have reached out to friends, colleagues, and even strangers to gain a fresh perspective on challenging questions and develop new skills.
You'll hear about faculty and student researchers in nutrition, telecommunications, sports medicine, and theatre joining forces for diabetes education; a psychologist unlocking social skills in autistic teens; an investment advisor developing alternative fuel technology; students taking their education to the streets of Shanghai and villages of East Africa.
Like the schoolteachers, business owners, and people of influence I encountered along Route 66, you'll see individuals using their passion and skills to make a difference in this world: a law professor shaping nascent laws against cyberstalking; a family man leading national initiatives to support fathers; a public policy alumna bringing hot, running water to orphanages in the Republic of Georgia.
You'll see the intellectual curiosity, spirit of service, and generosity of talent that define the Pepperdine community.