Pepperdine campus at sunset

FORWARD MOTION

 

It is well-known that Pepperdine is a mission-driven university. With its stated goals and the symmetry of its values, the mission energizes faculty and administrators, and it informs the way we teach, research, manage, and lead. When making policy or program decisions, the first and last question the leadership team asks: Would this action reflect the mission and will it strengthen or advance its cause? From the president to the provost, from deans to directors, every administrator at Pepperdine starts with these three words: MISSION MATTERS MOST.

Simply mounting a defense of the mission is not a strategy for future success. Standing still has never been desirable and today it is not an option. It is clear that the mission must continue to gain momentum if the University is to position itself globally as a preeminent Christian university as its vision statement demands. For these reasons, Pepperdine leadership has learned to think like good stewards and entrepreneurs—balancing the duty to manage risk while seeking to uncover and grasp opportunities.

In recent years, providers of post-secondary education in the U.S. have struggled to adapt to dramatic demographic shifts, declining enrollment, heavy government regulation, public scrutiny, and the growing cost of attendance. To guard against similar pressures, Pepperdine has increasingly applied resources toward financial aid to attract a mission-centered, academically gifted, diverse student body.

Thankfully, during this difficult period, Pepperdine has been bolstered by an increasing endowment, which at $793 million, is at an all-time high. With this strengthening asset, we have experienced robust operating performance and consistent investment returns over time, providing both growth and stability.

Even so, we anticipate strong headwinds as we reach for our vision goal, especially as we find ourselves competing with older, elite, well-established, heavily endowed institutions. As the cost of attendance grows, due in large part to sharply rising personnel costs, larger universities within our competitor set will apply superior resources to attract the most qualified students. Thus, it has never been more important for Pepperdine to make the case for a superior value proposition.

Edwin Biggers, chair of thePepperdine University Board of Regents noted, "In many ways, Pepperdine University today exhibits the character of George Pepperdine himself—it is driven by a Christ-centered mission and an entrepreneurial spirit." Moving forward, Pepperdine will draw heavily upon this instinct if it is to develop resources, manage risk, and creatively build a world-class university around the mission.