Pepperdine Voice Magazine
Uniting Alumni from Around the Country
Pepperdine University's newly developed Alumni Leadership Council marks the end of its historic first year.
By Jerry Derloshon
In an effort to enhance the momentum of recent initiatives supporting alumni, President Andrew K. Benton formed the University's new Alumni Leadership Council (ALC) and named Bob Clark (MBA '79, GSBM) from Denver, Colorado, as its head. When all council seats are filled, the ALC will comprise 20 voting members, 13 non-voting members, and 5 adjunct members. In announcing his goals for ALC, Clark cited the need for creating better affinity for alumni across all Pepperdine schools; enhancing career opportunities for alumni, especially at the time of graduation; and bolstering alumni chapters to increase visibility in their regions.
Cathy Kort (M '96, GSEP), executive director of alumni affairs, commends how quickly the new council has come together, and how eager the new and long-term volunteer leaders have been to roll up their sleeves and respond to President Benton's call to action. She notes that all four of the council's standing committees have completed a review and planning process and that important initiatives have already been completed. Citing two, Kort mentions that the Leadership Development Committee under Deanne Lewis (B '84, SC) has succeeded in developing and implementing an orientation program for alumni leaders. The Awareness and Communications Committee under Brad Starkey (B '88, SC), after a thorough review of two recent surveys, conducted the first of a series of focus groups aimed at securing key information to guide the University with its alumni programming.
The ALC approved its bylaws, underscoring a mission of vital importance to Pepper dine: "To advance the University by developing and strengthening lifelong relationships between the University and its alumni and serve as leaders who fully embrace the University's Mission." The organization sees its role as "providing input and counsel to the University through the executive directors of the Annual Fund and Alumni Affairs, and serving as an ambassador for the University regarding alumni affinity, engagement, and involvement." The ALC also emphasizes obtaining broad representation and ensuring that membership is drawn from all five Pepperdine schools, achieving a balance of gender, diversity, and "representation from geographical regions with high concentration of Pepperdine alumni."
ALC's executive committee includes four voting members with Clark as president; Robert Katch (B '84, SC; MBA '91, GSBM) as vice president; and positions for the immediate past president and president-elect. Kort sits on the committee as an ex officio voting staff member.
Going forward, several strategic initiatives are underway including gleaning input from alumni, parents, and student leaders at all five schools, as well as regional and chapter leaders on programs and services. In addition, ALC will continue to strengthen the alumni leadership network.
With these goals in mind, ALC members from across the country recently gathered in Malibu for the year's final meeting. They were joined by chapter leaders representing eight regions for a luncheon and joint afternoon and evening sessions. Clark presided over the luncheon held at Pepperdine's Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, which included remarks by Michael Zakian, director of the museum, and Marnie Mitze, then managing director of Pepperdine's Center for the Arts.
While in Malibu, council members and chapter leaders toured the campus and heard stories of alumni who have contributed to the history of Pepperdine. Coordinated by the Alumni Affairs Office, the tour celebrated such familiar family names as Booth, Caruso, Frahm, Rokus, Garner, Graziadio, Hahn, Palmer, Payson, and Rockwell. Special stops included Firestone Fieldhouse and the Drescher Graduate Campus. Participants also learned about plans for a future memorial honoring George Pepperdine College alumnus and football star Barney Barnhart (B '50, GPC; see page 26) and the college's founder. "Barney's Bench" will be cast in bronze and placed in a prominent location near the fountain in Tyler Campus Center and seated upon the bench will be a life-size statue of Mr. George Pepperdine.
"Everyone is very excited about the progress made over the past year," summarizes Kort. "We believe we are entering a new and exciting era at Pepperdine which will foster greater alumni affinity for their alma mater based upon a growing appreciation for the benefits of being connected to a strong and supportive alumni network."
Front (L-R): Ron Berryman (B '62, MBA '67, GPC), Mara Leigh Taylor (M '03, M '06, GSEP), Charles Eskridge (JD '90, SOL), Bob Clark (MBA '79, GSBM), Deanne Lewis (B '84, SC), Robert Katch (B '84, SC; MBA '91, GSBM), Cathy Kort (M '96, GSEP/executive director of alumni affairs)
Middle (L-R): Claudette LaCour (GSEP staff representative), Cesar Rosas (MBA '03, GSBM), John Rettberg (B '59, GPC), John Katch (B '60, GPC), Dawn Pettersen (B '88, SC/guest, interim director of advancement and alumni relations, Seaver College), Rick Gibson (associate vice president, public affairs)
Back (L-R): Jesse Torres (MBA '07, GSBM/GSBM staff representative), David Baird (guest, dean of Seaver College), Sam Lagana (guest, associate vice chancellor, athletics), Jonathan Kemp (B '94, SC/SPP staff representative), Chris Sangster (B '75, SC; MBA '81, GSBM/Seaver staff representative), Brad Starkey (B '88, SC)
Bob Clark interview - www.pepperdine.edu/pepperdinepeople/podcasts