Pepperdine 2014 Annual Report

Message from the President - 2014

President Andy Benton

Challenges and opportunities almost always accompany one another. The past year at Pepperdine—the University's 77th—was unlike any in recent memory in the context of leadership ... and change.

Amid the constancy of the Campaign for Pepperdine and a robust academic term for students and faculty in all schools, the University weathered significant change in leadership. Provost Darryl Tippens concluded his 13-year term as our chief academic officer, Dean Margaret Weber retired from her post at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, and Dean Linda Livingstone at the Graziadio School accepted a new business school deanship in Washington D.C.

For many, change is disruptive. Cardinal Newman, author of The Idea of the University, argued that "in order for a thing to remain the same, it must change often." In our work at Pepperdine, our task is simultaneously to innovate while holding fast to certain immutable principles. We must get better at what we do, competing for the hearts and minds of men and women who seek a rigorous education for a purposeful life.

And we must face change, including the changing of the guard in leadership positions. We found ourselves bidding fond farewell this year to outstanding administrators with whom we share both scholarship and friendship. And we embraced the challenge of recruiting new individuals for key assignments that will propel Pepperdine, her schools, and her mission forward.

A national search for a new provost led us to affirm that the best leaders are often right in our midst. Indeed, the selection of Seaver College dean Rick Marrs to lead our academic community as provost made what might have been a tremendously challenging transition a smooth and almost seamless one. His management of the undergraduate school, his embodiment of the Pepperdine mission, and his demonstrated qualities as a scholar and educator equip him well.

The Graduate School vacancy prompted us to look beyond our community, in a search that resulted in Helen Easterling Williams being selected to guide one of the University's largest graduate schools. With two decades in higher education leadership, most recently at the School of Education at Azusa Pacific University, Dr. Williams will lead our master's and doctoral programs in education and psychology, including innovative programs in social entrepreneurship and change.

Creating a climate in which a new era of leadership may take root and flourish will be among our most important tasks as 2015 unfolds. We have taken the essential steps in our national search for new deans at Seaver College and the Graziadio School, as capable interim administrators carry on the work to which we are passionately committed: strengthening students for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.

This annual report shares the events and highlights of 2014, including the unprecedented achievements of the Campaign for Pepperdine—more than $460 million raised in our collective quest to change the life of every student. Change has been our challenge and our opportunity this year, manifest in dedicated leaders who sustain our heritage of excellence in Christian higher education for generations to come.