Facebook pixel Pepperdine University Skip to main content
Pepperdine University

President George W. Bush and Rick Caruso Headline Annual Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law Gala Celebration



March 23, 2023 – Malibu, CA – Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law celebrated its 50-year legacy of service with a gala dinner that featured President George W. Bush in conversation with Rick Caruso on Wednesday, March 22, at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills.
Since its founding more than 50 years ago, the Caruso School of Law has prepared its students to not only practice law but to use their legal expertise to serve their communities. Through the historic 2019 naming gift from alumnus Rick Caruso (JD '83)—a dedicated public servant through his philanthropy and his work on numerous Los Angeles civic boards and committees—and his wife, Tina, the school reinforced its commitment to those ideals, dramatically increasing scholarship funding and loan forgiveness for graduates who practice public interest law and increasing support for the faculty who teach and prepare their students for lives of service.
More than 1,000 students, faculty, and community members came together to honor the multigenerational legacies of President Bush and Caruso, both of whom exemplify the values of selfless service to which Caruso students, alumni, and people throughout the Caruso Law community can aspire.
“One of the greatest things about the Pepperdine Caruso Law community is how we support each other through challenges and triumphs,” said Paul Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean of the Caruso School of Law. “It was such a pleasure to gather in celebration of how far we have come and how much farther we will go in the next 50 years. We were delighted to host the Caruso family and President Bush as we paid tribute to the school's legacy of public service and honored our alumni and friends who generously support our school’s work.
Attendees heard from notable university staff, judges, and lawyers and enjoyed a Q&A with President Bush and Caruso. When asked “What is the message you would send to law students as they are pursuing their careers and looking to do something great in life and change the world?" President Bush responded "It brings me joy to know that there are students who want to do something great in life. That means not only being a great lawyer, but also serving the community in which you live and making it a better place. Like teaching a child to read, feeding the homeless, and serving. This is not a government concept. This is a soul of America concept. I believe that our places of higher education are the best in the world. This is a nation of enormous ingenuity."

The evening also included a video tribute to former Caruso School of Law dean Ken Starr and the announcement of the Ken Starr Institute for Faith, Law, and Public Service. As a testament to Starr's transformative impact as dean of Caruso Law from 2004 to 2010, the institute will enhance the faith, law, and public service components of the school's curriculum and training.

About Pepperdine University

Founded in 1937, Pepperdine University is an independent, Christian university located 30 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles in scenic Malibu, California. The University enrolls approximately 10,300 students across its flagship liberal arts school, Seaver College; the Caruso School of Law; the Graziadio Business School; the Graduate School of Education and Psychology; and the School of Public Policy. Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Follow Pepperdine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Media Contact

Public Relations Office