Pepperdine 2014 Annual Report

Message from the Chair

Edwin L. Biggers

If you comb through the pages of Pepperdine University's history, you'll find a long list of distinguished leaders.

Some tenures were short by design, such as that of Pepperdine's first president, Batsell Baxter. His brief but celebrated presidency welcomed the fledging school's first students while earning it full accreditation in its first seven months. Other tenures have spanned decades, like those of Chancellor Emeritus Charles Runnels and Dean James R. Wilburn. Whether making new friends or building new schools, for more than 40 years these two men have guided the University with deft hands and devoted hearts.

The pantheon of Pepperdine leadership is filled with dozens of pioneers like Batsell, Charlie, and Jim. Trailblazing leaders boldly grew the original college, successfully built a new Malibu campus, and propelled the University into the 21st century with a sterling academic reputation strengthened by an unwavering commitment to its Christian heritage. Whether serving for one year or 50, each of these extraordinary men and women has more than just managed—they've made remarkable contributions to the University's progress that have set an unstoppable trajectory toward our future.

This year's report is a glimpse at that future. The conclusion of a campaign often marks a time of transition in the life of a University, and the end of the Campaign for Pepperdine is no exception. After years of steady guidance, many of our schools—indeed our University—closed long chapters of illustrious leadership this year and have begun to welcome the fresh energy and innovative ideas that new leaders are already bringing. Bolstered by generous campaign gifts and the work of their esteemed predecessors, these new heads of the academy will pen the pages of Pepperdine's next chapter with focus, conviction, and certitude.

Of course, they won't be authoring our future stories alone. Leadership at Pepperdine has always come in all shapes, sizes, and tenancies. It comes from students, whose inquiring minds are unafraid to challenge the status quo. It comes from faculty, whose research and scholarship are advancing their fields. It comes from staff, whose hearts for service dutifully carry out our mission. And it comes from alumni and friends, whose steadfast support enables all that we do. Some are with us for a little while and others a lifetime, but all make a permanent impact on what Pepperdine is and will become.

From Batsell to you, I am deeply grateful for the exceptional history of leadership at Pepperdine and proud of the progress we've made. Thank you for joining us on this journey.