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Waves Give 2023 Raises More Than $503K for Pepperdine Arts and Athletics Programs

Waves Give Arts + Athletics

Wednesday, March 15, 2023, marked the second annual Waves Give, which garnered 1,073 individual monetary gifts to the University totaling $503,013, well exceeding the institutional goal of $400,000. Waves Give is a yearly day of giving with a 24-hour fundraising period during which Pepperdine students, parents, alumni, and friends are encouraged to donate to the funds and programs that are important to them.

“Our team is absolutely thrilled with the outstanding success of this year's Waves Give giving day for arts and athletics,” says Liam Iadicicco, director of appeals for University Advancement. “The dedication and generosity of our community never cease to amaze me, as they come together to support our students who perform at the highest levels. This campaign reflects our shared commitment to providing an exceptional experience at Pepperdine for our students to pursue their passions, and I couldn't be more proud of the efforts of everyone involved.”

Waves Give 2023 focused on Pepperdine's arts programs and Waves Athletics, with all donations earmarked for funds and programs that support Pepperdine’s student-artists and student-athletes. Volunteers rallied support for Waves Give 2023 through phone calls and social media, encouraging the use of the hashtags #WavesGive and #WavesGive23 to raise awareness of the campaign. Waves Give 2023 was highly successful, raising more than $100,000 more than last year’s Waves Give total of almost $345,000.

Arts programs raised a total of $93,920, surpassing the $50,000 goal. Studio art and art history, Friends of the Theatre, Christopher Parkening guitar students, and Pepperdine’s choir programs were particularly successful, exceeding their individual program fundraising goals. In addition, matching donation challenges were met by Friends of the Theatre and the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts, with the matching funds provided by Diane Reilly (’58) and Doug and Ellen Weitman, respectively. The fund supporting Christopher Parkening guitar students raised the most overall, a total of $17,397, followed by Friends of the Theatre with $10,902.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Pepperdine community for the support of our student-artists during Waves Give,” says Rebecca Carson, managing director of the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts. “This is the first year our student-artists have been featured in this special initiative. We appreciate friends, family, and alumni coming together to share their gifts with these students as they use their talents to inspire others. The support of arts programs means the world to our students and will make our community a more creative, dynamic place in the year ahead.” 

Waves Athletics raised $393,593, exceeding the institutional goal of $350,000, with several sports teams surpassing their individual goals: women’s soccer, women’s swimming and diving, men’s golf, men’s water polo, and men’s and women’s cross country and track. Matching fund challenges were also very successful. Men’s and women’s cross country and track (matching funds provided by Travis and Karena Miller), men’s golf (matching funds provided by the Hitchner family and Doug and Ellen Weitman), and women’s golf (matching funds provided by Doug and Ellen Weitman) all met their challenge goals, as did men’s water polo and women’s swimming and diving, for which matching funds were provided by anonymous donors. Women’s swimming and diving raised the most overall, a total of $43,700, followed by men’s water polo with $32,889.

“Building off the success of last year’s inaugural Waves Give campaign, we were excited to see what we could do in the second go-around,” says James “Jimmy” Gehrels (’17), director of development for Pepperdine Athletics. “Our donors, alumni, families, and friends rallied once again and propelled us to new heights. These contributions will go a long way towards continuing to elevate the standard of excellence for Pepperdine Athletics.” 

“The funds raised through Waves Give will have a profound impact on our students, empowering them to pursue their passions, achieve their dreams, and become the leaders of tomorrow,” continues Iadicicco. “We are deeply grateful for the generosity of our community and are committed to keeping the arts and athletics a major focus of our appeals process.”