Students running at Alumni Park


with purpose

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

The towering cross on our majestic landscape proclaims Pepperdine University as a place where higher learning is aligned with a higher purpose.

We draw our inspiration from the creator as the source of wisdom, confident that this foundation and our fearless pursuit of truth in every discipline provides students with an educational experience that enlightens the whole person—heart, soul, and mind.

Their time with us is when the synthesis of discerning faith and life's work begins in earnest; faith and action are considered together. While exploring calling here, students are grounded in meaningful relationships, challenged to see beyond themselves, and inspired to probe for the deeper meaning of their lives. It is our hope that they grow to know themselves more fully through knowledge of God and the natural world, and as a result, discover their purpose in the world.

Pepperdine graduates are influencing change and answering calls to action around the world every day, fulfilling our founding mission. While some members of our University community serve faithfully in important but understated ways, others are making pivotal contributions to their communities and the world at large.

We believe that all who are drawn to the Pepperdine family—students, faculty members, alumni, and friends of the University—are called to lives of very special purpose. This is a community with an intentional yet expansive vision and a profound commitment to pursuing their highest calling that the world may be healed.

Princeton Review ranks Pepperdine number 10 in the country for 'Students Most Engaged in Community Service'


Ehsan Zaffar

In the days following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, then-Pepperdine School of Law student Ehsan Zaffar (JD '07) traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi, to volunteer with Oxfam and Team Duke Katrina Relief to assist hurricane victims with short-term legal needs and advocate on behalf of individuals involved in suits related to the natural disaster. When he returned, he was struck by the myriad needs of communities in post-conflict and post-disaster environments, especially resources and services to preserve their rights and security.

Today, he consults with citizens around the world to help build resilient communities, so that they can bounce back from natural disasters and address conflicts, such as acts of terrorism, with their own positive narratives. The graduate of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, the number one program for dispute resolution for 11 consecutive years, currently serves as an advisor on civil rights and civil liberties issues at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, DC, and leads both domestic and international efforts to implement UNHRC Resolution 16/18 to combat intolerance and violence against persons on the basis of religion or belief. An essential part of his job is facilitating communication between religious minorities and their governments in order to help enable religious freedom.

"One of the reasons why I feel fulfilled and enjoy my work is because I am able to pierce a lot of those barriers and get to people who have no voice," says Zaffar. "Sometimes they are forgotten and have no voice in government. I try to get them to a place so their voice can be heard."

Bernice Ledbetter

Under the founding directorship of Graziadio School of Business and Management professor Bernice Ledbetter (EdD '05), the Center for Women in Leadership launched this fall with a mission of advocating for gender equality in the corporate world. The center aims to expand the leadership capacity of women students, staff, and faculty through skills development and mentoring opportunities, industry roundtables, and a faculty research symposium wherein gender-related research will be presented by faculty from all five schools.


Graduate School of Education and Psychology professor Drew Erhardt and alumnus Edrick Dorian (PsyD '03), early pioneers in merging mobile technology with mental health services, are now tackling mental health with Moodnotes, a mobile application that offers a new, more approachable model of delivering psychological therapy.