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Belonging in FAITH

A community immersed in faith and bolstered by our distinctive Church of Christ heritage, Pepperdine's core is fixed on the inherent value of every human being. Belonging is fundamental to who we are as Christians and critical to our survival as a community of love.

man praying

As believers, we not only belong to God, but we belong to one another. It is our faith that binds us to one another and promotes the fellowship that enables us to grow closer to God. We find ourselves, our purpose, and, ultimately, our home, in the church and embed ourselves in the places where God is acknowledged, honored, and adored. Even as we reach toward higher aspirations, we are rooted in our divine connection to our creator.

Many find their journey to faith through belonging, but not all faith journeys look the same. This diversity reflects God's love and creative expression. God made us for relationships with each other and embedded within us a deep desire to be in community with each other. And while barriers keep people out, belonging pulls people in. If we reach out and draw in those who have been left or locked out, together we can bring open arms of welcome and belonging to every person at Pepperdine.




of Seaver College seniors
held formal leadership roles
in a student organization or group.

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law Assistant Dean of Student Life, Diversity, and Belonging Chalak Richards.

Chalak Richards (JD '12) was named the Caruso School of Law's first-ever assistant dean of student life, diversity, and belonging. Established in early 2020, the office of the assistant dean of student life, diversity, and belonging has three overarching goals: to create a community where all are welcomed and recognize they belong, to care for the well-being of each individual student, and to oversee the full student life experience. In her new role, Richards will develop programs to create a community that values and celebrates diversity and work on strategic initiatives and policies that strengthen belonging among students, faculty, and staff.

Students sit in Stauffer Chapel for a sermon.

Pepperdine University received a grant of nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish the Restoration Initiative, an effort focused on strengthening Churches of Christ in the western United States. Funded through the endowment's Thriving Congregations Initiative, which seeks to strengthen Christian congregations in order to help people deepen their relationships with God, the program aims to bring renewal, vitality, and effectiveness to churches through spiritual formation, instruction, mentoring, and team building..

The Honorable Daniel Weinstein (Ret.) presenting his gift to the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution with Dean Paul Caron.

The Honorable Daniel Weinstein (Ret.) made a $1 million gift to the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. The gift will be used to strengthen the academic program and global reputation of the Straus Institute, which has been ranked as the number one dispute resolution program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 13 of the past 16 years.


total endowment growth


The University's FY20 endowment funds (unaudited)

Attendees gather at the eighth annual SEER Symposium.

The Graziadio Business School's eighth annual SEER Symposium, The New Purpose of Business, featured influential thought leaders who shared insights on rapidly evolving social change and the instrumental role businesses play in promoting a flourishing society for the benefit of all. Held on February 28, 2020, the symposium welcomed a diverse lineup of speakers including Jeanne Holm, deputy chief information officer and senior technology advisor to Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who discussed how her team is using data and cutting-edge technology to further the city's sustainable development goals, increase equity, and deliver a high quality of life for the city's residents. Asami Tanimoto, community program manager at the Recycling Partnership, discussed some of the system-wide challenges with recycling, including the need for additional funding and how the business community plays an important role by getting buy-in from communities for products that are recyclable, reusable, and compostable.

Scenic view of Hong Kong as seen from above at sunset.

Graduate School of Education and Psychology assistant professor Kevin Wong studied teacher motivation in Hong Kong amid social unrest and COVID-19. In June 2020 Wong and his University of Hong Kong coauthor, Benjamin Luke Moorhouse, published their study, "The Impact of Social Uncertainty, Protests, and COVID-19 on Hong Kong Teachers," in the Journal of Loss and Trauma. As citizens of Hong Kong continued to work through the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and the widespread civil unrest in response to an extradition law that many citizens feared would break Hong Kong's independence from mainland China, teachers found themselves processing the events in isolation and helping their students navigate the uncertainty. Wong and Moorhouse were particularly interested in the impact this stress and trauma may have on teacher motivation—a critical component to effective teaching..