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A Message from the President to a Grieving Community

October 18, 2023

Dear Pepperdine family,

No day is more devastating to a tightly knit university community than the day that forces us to come together in grief and sorrow. Earlier today, we learned that four precious lives who brought joy and light to our campus were taken from us suddenly, tragically, and incomprehensibly. Indeed, one of the greatest mysteries of life is when and why our time on this earth is cut short. In such times, we hold firm to our faith in the God who sustains and nourishes us even when—and especially when—we experience life’s most significant losses.

As a parent, the loss of a child is an unimaginable tragedy. No words can appropriately convey the depth of my sympathy to the families who are living through a reality no parent would ever want to endure. You are not alone. Pepperdine stands with you as you traverse these challenging waters.

To the students who loved, lived with, and were in community with the departed members of our Pepperdine family, my heart is broken with yours. I join you in your grief as we process this profound loss.

To the faculty and staff members who mentored and loved these students throughout their academic journeys both inside and outside the classroom, I offer prayers of comfort, support, and gratitude.

When the weight of grief feels insurmountable and we find ourselves walking in a dark valley, my hope is that we experience the comfort and presence of our God who promises to walk with us and give us strength. As we walk this path together, I pray we gain strength and comfort from one another. In the embrace of our community, we also pray for the fortitude to navigate this painful journey knowing that we are not alone. 

In the days ahead, we will come together in meaningful ways to honor and celebrate the lives of the remarkable individuals lost to this unthinkable tragedy. We will harness the strength found in the bonds of friendship and the community that unites us. And we will take comfort in the Lord who provides us with the supernatural strength and peace required to carry on. I know that God holds Pepperdine in his healing and loving arms and protects our community as we grieve and honor these dear loved ones.  

With a heavy heart,

Jim Gash

President and CEO