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Pepperdine students singing together outside

All Together Now

In the spring 2013 issue of Pepperdine Magazine, Austin Chapman ('11), a Seaver College alumnus and filmmaker who was born profoundly deaf, was profiled in an article titled “Sounds Profound” that highlighted his career success despite his difficulty hearing the music and dialogue in his films. In the article, Chapman recalls in powerful detail the feeling of hearing for the first time the soaring and swelling of the polyphonic choir as it performed Mozart's “Lacrimosa” after switching to a new hearing aid with a life-changing technology. “At one point, it sounded like angels singing,” he said, describing the emotional overwhelm that struck him and the others listening to the requiem song in the car that day. “I finally understood the power of music.”


Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is.

—Malcolm Arnold

The aural sensation that Chapman described is a phenomenon called vocal or choral blend, a product of ensemble singing that features strong fundamental frequencies and creates a sort of supernatural synchronicity where individual voices become indiscernible. While this desired choral sound captures the conformity of the whole, it is often designed in ways that do not sacrifice choir members' individual tone quality or vocal integrity. In fact, a choir director's efforts to honor the individuality of each voice are the key to achieving the type of vocal blend that completely enraptures listeners.

Like the most distinguished choirs, communities aspiring to astound the world with their unity must be concerned with the unique qualities and capabilities that each individual holds and contributes to the collective. In choral activities, those unique qualities have the potential to create a distinct harmony that moves audiences to tears. At a university, they have the power to create a sense of belonging and self-worth in the individual and a spirit of unity among the group that overcomes division and brings about togetherness.


Glenn Loury

Economist Glenn Loury, one of the country's foremost experts on social capital, led the Augustus and Patricia Tagliaferri Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series at the School of Public Policy to discuss “Preserving the American Project: The Bias Narrative vs. the Development Narrative.” Inspired by the wave of public protests across America that placed the question of race front and center in the nation's public square last year, Loury explored the components that lead to greater economic opportunity and broader societal flourishing and those that don't, as well as the quest for increasing the “social capital”—the relational foundations of economic opportunity—of African Americans.

CSOL Belonging Awards logo

The Caruso School of Law hosted the inaugural Belonging Awards to honor distinguished alumni who have made a significant impact on belonging in the legal field. “I truly believe that we can tell what an institution values by what it celebrates,” said Chalak Richards (JD '12), assistant dean of student life, diversity, and belonging and director of the Parris Institute for Professional Excellence at Caruso Law. “We were thrilled to highlight an impressive community of students and alumni who advocate for change and promote belonging in their studies, professions, and lives.”

Covid-19 graphic

Beginning in March 2021, the Student Health Center hosted weekly COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the Malibu campus upon receiving the Moderna vaccine from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “In my more than 30 years as a physician and 15 at Pepperdine, providing this vaccine and hopefully ending this pandemic are truly the most important things I have done in my career,” said Lucy Larson, medical director of the Student Health Center.

students serving on Step Forward Day

volunteers on
24 teams supported
14 community organizations on Step Forward Day.


Nearly 80 hours
of virtual performances were hosted by the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts and Seaver College Fine Arts Division during the 2020–21 academic year.

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