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Welcome Letter from President Gash

April 20, 2020

Dear Pepperdine Waves Family,

During any crisis or catastrophe, it’s normal to wonder, even worry, about how people will respond to the moment in which they find themselves. Will we panic? Will the crisis collectively bring out the worst in us? Can I count on my community in a time of need? We as humans instinctively react to moments of consternation in often unexpected ways, and perhaps no other time in modern history has tested our global society and individual communities more than the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in these same moments of uncertainty, we also know that we are capable of coming together to do extraordinary things. With every passing day, we’re seeing countless stories of people uniting in truly distinctive ways to help out, give back, and offer hope. From organizing donations and supplies to celebrating our front line heroes to picking up groceries for our neighbor next door, the world is turning tragedy into solidarity and revealing the deep sense of compassion innate in our shared humanity. 

As Pepperdine Waves, serving others is fundamentally part of who we are. In both good times and bad, we are compelled by our faith to help those most in need, and we know that knowledge calls, ultimately, for a life of service. In the last few weeks and months, I have been deeply moved by the stories of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff around the world who are doing just that and bringing our Pepperdine mission to life at a time when it’s needed most

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University wants to continue to provide ways for you to connect with, engage, and serve the community while also sharing stories of service that can inspire and offer a renewed sense of purpose. To facilitate this effort, Pepperdine has begun to activate our Waves of Service initiative in a way that is uniquely responsive to this moment. Since its launch in 2009, Waves of Service has served as the coordinating movement at Pepperdine that celebrates, supports, and connects our community through volunteerism and global service. I can’t think of a more important moment for Pepperdine to foster efforts to serve and shine light on the heroic Waves who are leading by example each day during this crisis.

So what can you do? Share your story. Recognize your fellow Waves. Get involved. Let Pepperdine know of opportunities where people can safely give back to their communities and the causes most important to them. And if you’re able, consider how you might volunteer. We all have unique gifts and talents, and we can use them in countless ways to serve and positively impact others.

With God by our side, we are all in this together. I’m grateful to be on this journey with you and to count you as part of our remarkable Waves family.


Jim Gash
President and CEO