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Introduction to Pepperdine 2020: Boundless Horizons

"A great gift has been made to each and every one of us—the privilege of living in the world for a short span of years and the opportunity of doing our part to help the less fortunate; to improve civilization; to advance knowledge, both the scientific knowledge of men and the "wisdom which is from above." –George Pepperdine, 1937

Pepperdine University is called to be a premier, global Christian university known for the integration of faith and scholarship in the service of humanity. Throughout its history, the University has been the recipient of innumerable blessings, including a preeminent location in Southern California, campuses on four continents, a new property in Washington, DC, exceptional faculty, talented staff, gifted students, loyal alumni, generous donors, and a compelling mission. Because we have freely received a rich heritage, we believe it is our mandate to give freely to others, and to share these intellectual, moral, and spiritual blessings with families, churches, communities, the nation, and the world. Pepperdine University enjoys a distinctive ethos, mission, and character that will equip and empower it to serve the needs of our society and the world. With our founder, George Pepperdine, we firmly believe that we have been given a "sacred trust" to which we must be faithful. Now is the time to rise to the occasion—to become a truly global university, earnest about scholarly inquiry and devoted to student learning, while remaining true to the founder's spiritual vision.

Since its founding in 1937, Pepperdine has continued to grow in its scholarly achievements and scope of service. From its modest beginnings as a Christian liberal arts college in central Los Angeles, the institution has blossomed into a distinguished university with a broad range of programs and a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. Today the University enjoys a singular reputation for excellence, both nationally and internationally. Students from more than 50 countries and virtually all the states study at the University's multiple campuses in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia. All the while, the institution has remained committed to its original calling, as expressed in the mission statement:

Pepperdine is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.

Our core commitments inspire us, direct us, and determine our relentless striving for excellence. As a Christian university, Pepperdine affirms:

  • That God is
  • That God is revealed uniquely in Christ
  • That the educational process may not, with impunity, be divorced from the divine process
  • That the student, as a person of infinite dignity, is the heart of the educational enterprise
  • That the quality of student life is a valid concern of the University
  • That truth, having nothing to fear from investigation, should be pursued relentlessly in every discipline
  • That spiritual commitment, tolerating no excuse for mediocrity, demands the highest standards of academic excellence
  • That freedom, whether spiritual, intellectual, or economic, is indivisible
  • That knowledge calls, ultimately, for a life of service.

Distinctive institutional values and practices derive from these core commitments, permeating the undergraduate and graduate curricula and the daily lives of students, faculty, and staff:

  • The essential compatibility of the claims of scholarship and the call to discipleship
  • The centrality of student learning
  • A respect for the value of scholarly debate, honest inquiry, and the passionate search for truth
  • A focus on ethics and honorable conduct at all times
  • A global perspective on learning, service, and civic obligation
  • An hospitable welcome that affirms the worth of the individual and the dignity of the individual
  • A commitment to spiritual and intellectual formation
  • A respect for and proper care of Creation

Though much has been accomplished in the last seven decades, there is a growing sense that Pepperdine University has only begun the momentous journey to which it has been called. In the years to come, we must imagine new possibilities—new programs, new opportunities, and new structural configurations. In the words of President Andrew Benton, "our horizons are boundless."

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