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Pepperdine University Mourns the Passing of Board of Regents Member Edwin L. Biggers

Ed Biggers Headshot

Pepperdine University is saddened to announce the passing of Edwin L. Biggers, the former chair of the Board of Regents and a current Regent, who passed away Friday, March 1, 2024. 

“Very few individuals have been dedicated to Pepperdine’s Christian mission, its students, and its advancement the way Ed Biggers has,” says Pepperdine president Jim Gash. “Throughout his decades of service to and support of Pepperdine, Ed and his family have deeply demonstrated their faith through their generosity to some of the University’s most critical initiatives. I will miss Ed and will continue to pray for Paula and the entire Biggers family as they navigate the challenging waters of Ed’s unexpected passing.”

Born on December 22, 1935, in Martinez, California, Biggers earned a bachelor of science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1957, followed by a three-year commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force at Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County, Florida. After fulfilling his service in the military in 1960, Biggers received a graduate degree from the executive program of the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 1963.

Upon completing his education and entering the workforce as an engineer, Biggers worked at Hughes Aircraft Company for 34 years and served as president of the Hughes Missile Group (now Raytheon Missile Systems) prior to his retirement in 1994. During his early years at Hughes, Biggers was awarded a master of science fellowship to study engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Biggers spent six years as a member of the Defense Science Board, an advisory group for the Secretary of Defense. A member of the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) since 1989, and a board member from 2001 through 2006, Biggers was named chair of the TAA board of directors in 2014.

Biggers joined the Pepperdine Board of Regents in 1989 and served as its chair from 2004 until he concluded his 15-year service in 2019. Prior to joining the Board of Regents, he was inspired by his late wife, Joan, to become a loyal friend and advocate of the University both through financial support and active personal involvement. During his tenure at Pepperdine, Biggers was deeply involved in countless programs and initiatives at the University, including Harbor: The Pepperdine Bible Lectures, the Boone Center for the Family, the Church Leaders Council, Pepperdine Legacy Partners, the President’s Excellence Fund, and the Edwin and Joan Biggers Endowed Scholarship for Seaver College students.

A devoted husband to his wife, Paula, Biggers was an exemplary role model to his children and grandchildren, which include seven Seaver College alumni. Together, their strong and lasting commitment to the University will be indelibly etched around the Malibu campus at the Edwin and Paula Fong Biggers Tower at Seaside Residence Hall, the Biggers Family Courtyard, and the forthcoming Biggers Family Student Recreation Room at the Mountain at Mullin Park. The Edwin and Paula Fong Biggers Great Room at the University’s campus at the Château d'Hauteville in Switzerland also bears their name.

Biggers was affiliated with numerous prestigious organizations throughout Tucson, Arizona, and was a member of the Industrial Advisory Group
 at the University of Arizona School of Engineering, Pusch Ridge Christian Academy Governing Board, Catalina Foothills Church Schools Board, Tucson Young Life Metro Committee, and Habitat for Humanity Tucson Advisory Council. He was the chairman and president of Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing in Tucson and served as an elder at the city’s Mountain Avenue Church of Christ.

Biggers was preceded in death by his spouse, Joan, and son, Philip (’81). He is survived by his wife, Paula; children, Deborah (’85) (Gary) Weiss; Matthew (’02) (Evelyn) Fong, Jr.; Jade (’05) [(Sam (’05)] Freeman; and grandchildren, Matthew (’19, MS ’21) [Maria (‘19)] Weiss, and Olivia Weiss. Biggers is also survived by his brother, Dave (Sharon), sister-in-law, Mary Jo Biggers, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Please see the below memorial service details for the Pepperdine community and Biggers’ many friends:

Visitation - Friday, March 22, 2024, from 4 to 7 PM 
Bring’s Broadway Chapel
6910 E Broadway Blvd
Tucson, AZ ​85710

Celebration of Life - Saturday, March 23, 2024, at 10:30 AM
Catalina Foothills Church
2150 E Orange Grove Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85718

Additional details and a tribute page will be updated on the Bring's Broadway Chapel website.