Facebook pixel From the President | President's Report 2020 | Pepperdine University Skip to main content
Pepperdine University
President Jim Gash, Pepperdine

From the President

The year 2020 was unlike anything the world has ever seen. Our nation has been gripped by a once-in-a-century pandemic. The economic fallout has hurt millions of families and businesses. We have witnessed America's renewed commitment to deliver fully on its highest ideals and the promise that all people are created equal, which has shined a spotlight on racial justice and reconciliation. After a year of so much uncertainty and distance and pain, many have been left frequently wondering how we come together. Where, in the midst of this uncharted journey forward, do we still find togetherness and a genuine sense of belonging?


View of the main stained glass window at Stauffer

As a community of believers, our answer is in God's love for us and our love for each other. When I began my presidency, I shared that bringing together our entire Waves community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends would be among my highest priorities for Pepperdine. God designed people to thrive in community, and he commands us to love one another deeply. In John 13:34–35, Jesus said, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

This powerful testament of divine love is at the root of belonging and togetherness, but we must also have the courage to build a unified community that celebrates and uplifts the distinctiveness of each individual. Deepening relationships with those who are different from us—and with whom we may even disagree—matters. An intentional focus on each of these efforts is how we will be better disciples of the Lord and the only way to create a lasting community of belonging at the University and around the world.

When we look back at 2020, my hope is that the year will be remembered as a turning point and a time when every Wave stood tall to meet the moment. May we continue to love through both difficulty and difference. May we amplify the voices of those who have not felt heard. May we welcome with open arms those who have felt cast out. And in these actions, may we honor and celebrate the beauty of a humanity perfectly designed by our faithful and loving God.



Jim Gash signature
President and CEO