Research Scientist and Professor of Biology Dr. Jay Brewster Named Provost of Pepperdine University
April 19, 2021
I have now read and studied all of the community surveys and evaluated the input from the Search Committee, the deans of our five schools, the other members of the Steering Team, and the Board of Regents. After much prayer, consultation, and thoughtful deliberation, I am delighted to announce that I have appointed Dr. Jay Brewster as the next provost and chief academic officer at Pepperdine University.
I am deeply grateful to the members of the Search Committee for the countless hours they invested throughout this process. I am particularly indebted to the co-chairs of the Search Committee, April Marshall and Tim Perrin, for their hard work in leading an extensive national search over these past six months.
I am also thankful to those of you who participated in the process and in various other ways provided me with important feedback on each of the candidates. This is especially the case with those faculty and staff, students, and others across the University who participated in interviewing our six outstanding finalists for provost. Finally, we sincerely appreciate the time and energy each of the fine candidates put into pursuing this position.
In the midst of this search for an experienced and faithful teacher, scholar, leader, and administrator, one of the members of the Search Committee said, "What we need is a person of wisdom and character." Truer words could not be spoken. Jay Brewster is a person of impeccable character and has demonstrated his gentle yet profound wisdom in each of the leadership positions he has occupied. He is also a reputable research scientist who embodies Pepperdine's commitment to transforming lives through rigorous academics, spiritual exploration, and the significance of a life of purpose.
Jay also brings an impressive depth and breadth of experience to this important role, which has enabled him to learn the inner workings of our university first hand and intimately. He was awarded the Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence in 2006 and was a Frank R. Seaver Professor of Natural Science. Jay has led the Natural Science Division of Seaver College as divisional dean for the past three years and prior to that leadership position served as associate provost for nine and half years.
Over the course of his 24-year affiliation with Pepperdine, he has accumulated a lengthy list of awards, appointments, and affiliations. Jay served on the University Diversity Council as it wrote the first University Diversity Statement and chaired the University Academic Council for seven years. He has led the Howard A. White Teaching Excellence selection committee; the Pepperdine accreditation committee for high impact practices; the Rank, Tenure, and Promotions Committee; the Christian Scholars Conference; the Sabbatical Committee; and the Professional Problems Committee, just to name a few. In his role as associate provost for nearly a decade, Jay worked with the faculties and deans from all five schools where he learned a high level of detail about the markets, climate, and academic priorities of each of our graduate schools.
All of the above clearly illustrates Jay's heart to serve this institution that he loves and why he is the right person to lead the academic enterprise at Pepperdine in this next season. In addition to his leadership and service, Jay is an extraordinary scholar and geneticist. And while his impressive volume of research grants to support his work speaks for itself, he often says the achievement he is most proud of is mentoring undergraduate students through the Summer Undergraduate Research in Biology program, which he has directed for the past 10 years. Jay has co-authored numerous publications and conference presentations with undergraduates partnering in his research efforts.
Jay developed his love for Christian higher education as an undergraduate at Lubbock Christian University where he received his degree in science education. He earned his PhD in cell biology and biochemistry at Rice University, which he followed with a postdoctoral fellowship at the McLaughlin Biomedical Research Institute.
As an elder at the University Church of Christ for the past four years, Jay has demonstrated a deep-rooted commitment to student spiritual development and a pastoral heart for the entire Pepperdine community. Jay has expressed his desire to advance our academic reputation at Pepperdine and our Christian mission, as well as to build a deeply connected community of belonging on our campuses. Jay will begin his transition to the Office of the Provost over the summer and officially begin in his new role on August 1.
Please join me in congratulating Jay.