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Interim Report #2 on Transition Planning

May 31, 2019

As promised, I am providing this memo to keep our Pepperdine family informed of the process and progress of the presidential leadership transition. Since our last update, we celebrated, as faculty, staff, and students, Andy and Debby in Mullin Town Square on April 16, and we were moved by the extraordinary tribute to Andy's presidency at the Pepperdine Associates dinner on May 11. As summer now approaches, we are beginning to focus on transitioning the administration.

Transition Process Update

This transition continues to demonstrate the very best of Pepperdine as University leaders work to pass the baton of institutional knowledge with efficiency and grace. I have been so warmly received by every single person and group that I have had the privilege of engaging. In order to hit the ground running on August 1, I have been meeting regularly with those most closely connected to the day-to-day work of the president, and as we prepare to launch the next chapter at Pepperdine, I am working closely with Andy and the other members of the senior leadership team. Furthermore, I am nearing completion of my listening tour of one-on-one meetings with each member of the Board of Regents in advance of the June 11 board meeting—32 down, four to go—and I have also met with each of the deans and most of the University executives. My listening tour has also recently expanded to include the various divisions of Seaver College and will soon expand to include the faculty and staff of the other four schools. I am on the road most days, and my schedule is filled with meeting the remarkable members of our warm Pepperdine family.

Vision and Strategic Plan

When August arrives, the very first project I plan to initiate is a University-wide vision and strategic planning process for 2030. Led by Senior Vice President Tim Perrin in collaboration with Provost Rick Marrs, Vice Provost Lee Kats, and their teams, this will be a year-long, universal process that provides ample opportunity for every stakeholder from our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends to weigh in and provide their best ideas, dreams, and creative innovations. We all have ambitious aspirations for Pepperdine, and we know that we can only achieve them together. My hope and prayer is that we can rally together around an exciting vision for Pepperdine's future and utilize our uncommon teamwork, competence, and character to make that vision come to life.


Volumes and volumes have been written about university presidential transitions. We have been reading many of them. All of them agree that some in the university community grow anxious with the uncertainty of what the next president will or won't do. With that in mind, I would like to confirm at least one certainty. Whatever we do going forward, we are going to do it together. We are a family of immensely talented and dedicated people, and we need everyone in our community operating at their highest and best giftings to rise to the level we all dream of achieving. My most sincere prayer is that this next chapter will be marked by unity and togetherness.

Joline and I have been so blessed by the encouragement and support we have received in the last several months. We continue to be grateful for your prayers as we, too, approach this exciting new season in our lives with each of you.