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Pepperdine University
Gareen Darakjian, Managing Editor, Pepperdine Magazine

Letter from the Editor

Pepperdine Magazine is the feature magazine for Pepperdine University and its growing community of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends.

Champion. An advocate and a defender. A warrior. A winner.


It’s not a label that one person or one group of people or one institution can commonly claim. Champions don’t only break records—they set the standards for greatness. At times governed by external forces, they are driven by something more personal and particular—a benchmark that they have set for themselves. And when they push past their comfort zone, they are met with an indescribable sense of satisfaction that can only result from defeating a self-imposed challenge and achieving a goal out of reach for many.

When I hung up the phone after my interview with DeLisha Milton-Jones, I was sure that she embodied all of the ways the word could be defined. Throughout her career she has been recognized as the

fastest, strongest, and fiercest against her competition. But as I began to peel back the layers of her tough-as-nails courtside reputation, I learned that she leads with her heart and soul and owes much of her success to her steadfast faith. She is the ultimate defender—of her own legacy and that of the team she hopes to take to similar heights.

This issue also recognizes the Foreign Service officers who champion the rights and needs of communities around the world and the pioneering faculty and students at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology who advocate for a more holistic understanding of developmental disorders, namely autism.

We celebrate the visionaries at the School of Law who, 30 years ago, saw a need in the legal world at a time when traditional avenues of justice just weren’t cutting it and decided to do something about it. Year after year—12 to be exact—the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution continues to be recognized as the number one program for dispute resolution in the country.

More importantly, we look at what sets this group apart—their courage to trust their instincts, their enthusiasm to motivate those around them, their optimism during moments of failure, and their grace in times of triumph.

Gareen Darakjian