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GRAMMY® Award Winner Jennifer Hudson Performs at 44th Annual Pepperdine Associates Dinner

May 4, 2020  | 2 min read

The 44th annual Pepperdine Associates dinner, held Saturday, February 22, 2020, at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, brought together the Pepperdine community near and far. Ascend Together, the guiding inspiration for President Jim Gash’s (JD ’93) vision for the future of the University, served as the evening’s guiding theme.

Keith Hinkle (JD ’97), senior vice president for advancement and chief development officer, celebrated the dedicated friends of the University who continue to support the efforts to create unforgettable Pepperdine experiences.

An invocation by Eric Wilson, associate dean of student affairs and executive director of spiritual life programs, was followed by remarks from Chancellor Sara Young Jackson (’74). Jackson spoke of a vision for Christian higher education that was imagined by George Pepperdine and realized by influential leaders in the Pepperdine community, including her parents, former Pepperdine president and first lady Norvel and Helen Young.

Introduced by Dee Anna Smith (’86), chair of the Pepperdine Board of Regents, President Gash began his keynote address by reflecting on Pepperdine’s distinctive contribution to the world. “To have a deep purpose, we must meet a deep need,” Gash said. “What does Pepperdine uniquely add to higher education?”

Gash continued to inspire the crowd with his vision focused on a commitment to developing leaders of faith, courage, character, and creativity who impact and influence the world. “What the world needs most is what we do best,” he said. “That is our why and that is our mountain.”

Looking beyond Pepperdine’s Malibu campus, Gash invited the audience to envision the transformational influence of Pepperdine’s mission of purpose, service, and leadership on the city of Los Angeles and around the world.

The evening culminated with a rousing performance by GRAMMY®- and Academy Award-winning performing artist Jennifer Hudson, who entertained the audience with her hit songs “Spotlight” and “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” as well as a captivating performance of “Hallelujah” originally composed by Jeff Buckley.