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Entrance to the Malibu campus
Pepperdine aerial view.

Pepperdine University is an independent, private, medium-sized university affiliated with the Churches of Christ. The university's 830-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibumarker is the location for Seaver College, the School of Law, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, the Graziadio School of Business and Management, and the School of Public Policy. Courses are taught in Malibu, at six graduate campuses in southern California, and at international campuses in Germanymarker, Englandmarker, Italymarker, Chinamarker, Switzerlandmarker, and Argentinamarker.


Early years

In February 1937, against the backdrop of the Great Depression, George Pepperdine founded the University as a Christian liberal arts college in the city of Los Angeles. On September 21, 1937, 167 new students from 22 different states and two other countries entered classes on a newly built campus on at West 79th Street and South Vermont Avenue in the Vermont Knolls neighborhood of South Central, Los Angelesmarker , referred to later as the Vermont Avenue campus. By April 6, 1938, George Pepperdine College was fully accredited by the Northwest Association.

Pepperdine had built a fortune founding and developing the Western Auto Supply Company which he started with a $5 investment, but his prosperity led to his greater ambition to discover "how humanity can be helped most with the means entrusted to [his] care. [He] consider it wrong to build up a great fortune and use it selfishly." Mr. Pepperdine voiced his two-fold objective for the college that bore his name, "First, we want to provide first-class, fully accredited academic training in the liberal arts...Secondly, we are especially dedicated to a greater goal—that of building in the student a Christ-like life, a love for the church, and a passion for the souls of mankind."

Move to Malibu

By the 1960s, the young college faced serious problems. The area around the Vermont Avenue campus developed issues with crime and urban decay; tensions also arose due to the Civil Rights Movement and attempts to circumvent it such as California Proposition 14, which challenged federal fair housing laws. The situation exploded in the 1965 Watts Riots. In 1969 activists in the Watts area threatened to burn down the campus; however, they were talked out of it after all-night negotiations by then-President M. Norvel Young. In addition, the Vermont Avenue campus was running out of room to expand.

In 1967, the school put forth a multi-campus idea that would move the undergraduate campus to an alternative location; a committee formed and looked at numerous locations, including sites in Valencia, Orange Countymarker, Ventura Countymarker and Westlake Villagemarker. Pepperdine favored the Westlake Village location until the Adamson-Rindge family, who owned hundreds of acres in Malibu, offered of Malibu land; despite concerns over building costs on the mountainous site, the school decided to move forward based on its prime location and potential for raising donation. On April 13, 1971, the university broke ground to commence construction and in September 1972 the Malibu campus opened for student enrollment.

(The old Pepperdine University campus was sold to Crenshaw Christian Center, whose Pastor, Frederick K.C. Price, then oversaw construction of the "FaithDome," the largest domed-church in the United States, seating over 10,000).

School of Law

Pepperdine gained university status in 1971 when the School of Lawmarker was added and the business and education departments became separate schools. In the 1980s, Pepperdine rose to prominence as one of the United States' leading centers of conservative politics, attracting many conservative-leaning professors from nearby UCLAmarker and USCmarker. Prominent conservatives on the Pepperdine faculty have included Bruce Herschensohn, Ben Stein, Kenneth Starr, Arthur Laffer, Douglas W. Kmiec, and Daniel Pipes.
Smoke billows on a hill near Pepperdine University's Theme Tower.


In 1993 and 1996, massive brushfires threatened the campus with destruction, but firefighters succeeded in protecting almost all structures. On October 21, 2007, fast-moving wildfires forced campus residents to relocate and shelter in the Firestone Field house and Cafeteria, plus evacuations of local homes and businesses. Similarly, another November 2007 fire in Corral Canyon, accidentally set off by a group of Los Angeles youths, caused an evacuation of the Drescher Campus. However, most students were off-campus for the Thanksgiving holiday.


Frederick R.
Weisman Museum of Art
The main campus is located among several ridges that overlook the Pacific Oceanmarker and the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. The main campus entrance road ascends a steep, well-groomed grassy slope past a huge stylized cross, known as the Phillips Theme Tower, symbolizing the university's dedication to its original Christian mission. Most buildings were constructed in a typical 1980s-style reinterpretation of classic Californian and Mediterranean architecture (red tile roofs, white stuccoed walls, large tinted windows). There are views of the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Islandmarker, Palos Verdes Peninsulamarker, Long Beachmarker and the westside of Los Angeles from numerous points. Graduations take place at Alumni Park, a broad expanse of lawn overlooking Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean. The main academic plaza for undergraduate programs of Seaver College lies just above Alumni Park and includes Stauffer Chapel, Tyler Campus Center, Payson Library, and the Ahmanson Fine Arts Center. Undergraduate housing and athletic facilities sit to the north/northwest of the academic complex. The Law School exists even higher above these areas. The central campus is surrounded by a loop road consisting of Seaver Drive, Huntsinger Circle, and John Tyler Drive. Banowsky Boulevard separates Alumni Park from the main academic complex and is named in honor of William S. Banowsky, the 4th president of Pepperdine.

Spur roads to the east of the central part of campus lead to faculty housing. To the northwest, Via Pacifica winds uphill to the Drescher Graduate Campus, completed in 2003 and home to the School of Public Policy, the Villa Graziadio conference center, as well as the fulltime programs of the Graziadio School of Business and Management and the Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Housing for graduate students, undergraduate honors students, and faculty are also located here.

The American childrens' TV show ,Zoey 101, also used the campus as the backdrop for the fictional boarding school, Pacific Coast Academy.

Graduate Campuses

The Graziadio School of Business and Management and the Graduate School of Education and Psychology are headquartered in West Los Angeles at the Howard Hughes Center next to Interstate 405. These two schools also offer programs at graduate campuses in Encinomarker, Irvinemarker, Santa Claramarker, and Westlake Villagemarker. International programs of the University's various schools take place in Londonmarker, Heidelbergmarker, Florencemarker, Buenos Airesmarker, Parismarker, Madridmarker, Lausannemarker, Johannesburgmarker, Tegucigalpamarker, Brisbanemarker, Chiang Maimarker, Hong Kongmarker, and Tokyomarker.


Houses adjacent to the Malibu campus.

Frank R. Seaver College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences

Seaver College is named for Mr. and Mrs. Frank R. Seaver, the principal benefactors of Pepperdine's Malibu Campus. The college offers undergraduates a liberal arts education, and each candidate for a Bachelor's Degree must complete a series of general education courses crossing disciplinary lines. Seaver College students attend classes at the Malibu main campus and study abroad courses are offered at our permanent international campuses in Germany, England, China, Italy, Switzerland, and Buenos Aires. Rick Marrs is the current dean.

Seaver College comprises 8 divisions and offers 38 majors (listed below), as well as 36 minors:

Business Division:Accounting,Business Administration,International Business

Communication Division:Advertising,Communication,Integrated Marketing Communication,Journalism,Public Relations,Telecommunications

Fine Arts Division:Art,Art History,Music,Theatre Arts,Theatre and Television

Humanities and Teacher Education Division:Creative Writing,English,Film Studies,History,Liberal Arts,Philosophy

International Studies and Languages Division:French,German,International Studies,Spanish

Natural Science Division:Biology,Chemistry,Computer Science/Mathematics,Mathematics,Mathematics Education,Natural Science (3/2 Engineering),Nutritional Science,Physics,Sports Medicine

Religion Division:Religion

The Religion Division offers undergraduate and graduate education in ministry, administers a Center for Faith and Learning and an Office of Church Relations, and publishes Leaven: A Journal of Christian Ministry.

Social Science Division:Economics,Political Science,Psychology,Sociology

In addition, the college offers the following graduate degrees: Master of Arts in American studies, Master of Arts in Communication, Master of Science in Communication, Master of Arts in Religion, Master of Divinity, and Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Screen & Television. Seaver students can also earn both single-subject and multiple-subject teaching credentials.

Seaver College students attend classes at the Malibu main campus. Study abroad courses are offered at the University's permanent international campuses in Heidelberg, Germany; London, England; Florence, Italy; Lausanne, Switzerland; Shanghai, China; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Graziadio School of Business and Management

Pepperdine University's George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management enrolls approximately 2,000 students in its full-time and part-time degree programs. The school was founded in 1969, and has since graduated over 30,000 alumni. Dr. Linda Livingstone has served as Dean since 2002.

Pepperdine University's George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management's Masters in Organizational Development is ranked #1 in the world.

School of Law

The Pepperdine University School of Lawmarker is located adjacent to the Seaver College Campus, and enrolls about 670 students who come from all parts of the country. It is fully approved by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. The School of Law recently has attained membership in the prestigious Order of the Coif. Pepperdine's Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution is consistently ranked as the number one dispute resolution program in the country, offering LL.M., master's and certificate programs. Some of its other newer degree offerings include the juris doctor/master of divinity in conjunction with Pepperdine's Seaver College. Other joint degree programs include the JD/MBA, JD/MPP, and JD/MDR. The school offers both a summer session and a fall semester in Londonmarker, Englandmarker. Kenneth Starr is the current dean.
An example of Pepperdine's Mediterranean architecture, The Keck Science Center

Graduate School of Education and Psychology

With a focus on collaborative learning, leadership and academic excellence, the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) offers both masters and doctorate programs in education, educational technology, education administration, leadership, organizational change, organizational leadership, school counseling, psychology, and clinical psychology. Margaret Weber is the current dean.

School of Public Policy

Approximately 120 graduate students are enrolled in the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, which offers a two-year masters of public policy degree. Not simply the study of government, public policy is the study of how governments, non-profits, and even individuals and businesses address problems of public concern. Students specialize in economics, international relations, American politics, or local/regional policy in addition to their core studies and are required to complete a policy-related internship.

The School of Public Policy was recently given a generous grant by former Congressman Jack F. Kemp to establish an institute of political economy. Notable figures scheduled to lecture and join an advisory committee are: James A. Baker III (former Secretary of State), William J. Bennett, Edwin Fuelner (President, Heritage Foundation), Steve Forbes (CEO and Chairman, Forbes, Inc.), Larry Kudlow, Edwin Meese III (75th Attorney General of the United States), and Michael Novak.

Notable faculty at the School of Public Policy include: Ted McAllister, James Q. Wilson, James Prieger (Senior Economic Advisor, FCC), Gordon Lloyd and Robert Kaufman.

Notable graduates include at least one former member of the Bush Administration: Eryn Witcher, Director of Television.

The current dean of the Public Policy School is James R. Wilburn.



Pepperdine Waves Logo
Pepperdine University participates in the West Coast Conference, a conference made up exclusively of religiously affiliated schools in which it is the only member that is not Roman Catholic. Appropriate for its location adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, Pepperdine's teams are known as the Waves.

Pepperdine University was recently ranked by the Sears Cup as having the most successful athletic program for non-football Division I schools. (Stanfordmarker was ranked the most successful Division I athletic program with football.) Pepperdine University sponsors fourteen NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics teams: baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, tennis, volleyball and water polo teams for men; and basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball for women. There are also a number of intercollegiate sports clubs such as men's soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, surf team, Ultimate Frisbee and men's rugby.

NCAA Division I Team Championships:
  • Baseball (1992)
  • Men's Golf (1997)
  • Men's Tennis (2006)
  • Men's Volleyball (1978, 1985, 1986, 1992, 2005)
  • Water Polo (1997)

NCAA Division I Individual Titles:
  • Robbie Weiss (1988 Tennis - Singles)
  • Carlos DiLaura & Kelly Jones (1985 Tennis - Doubles)
  • Jerome Jones & Kelly Jones (1984 Tennis - Doubles)

Notable alumni



  • Linda Ruffin (1987) - President, Opportunities Plus
  • Rick J. Caruso (J.D., 1983) - CEO of Caruso Affiliated, former President of the Los Angeles Police Commission
  • Robert Tchenguiz (LL.B., 1982) - London-based Property Tycoon
  • Michael A. Yoshikami (M.B.A., 2005) - Founder, President, Chief Investment Strategist, YCMNET, Inc.



  • Stanley Cloud (1968) - Washington Bureau Chief of Time Magazine, author of "A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II"
  • Patty McConahay (B.A., 1976) - Television newscaster and talk show host
  • Jack Mulkey (B.A., 1974) - Copy Desk Chief, South Bay Daily Breeze (Los Angeles)
  • Scott Ostler (1970) - Sports columnist, San Francisco Chronicle
  • David Ottalini (M.A., 1975) - CNN news producer, 1980-2003; Media relations officer, University of Maryland, 2003-present
  • Chris Preimesberger (B.A., 1975) - Editor/Columnist, eWEEK, and sports correspondent, The Associated Press; IT blogger
  • Bob Rose (B.A., 1975) - Media Relations Chief, Oakland A's
  • Bridget Waldman (2003) - News Producer KLAS-TV CBS, Emmy winner 2005
  • Adam Housley (B.A. 1994, B.A. 1994) -National Correspondent Fox News Channel, Emmy Winner
  • Alyce Alston (M.B.A.) - President, Health & Wellness, Home & Garden, The Reader's Digest Association, Ltd.
  • Natasha Stenbock (B.A., 1999) - KFMB-TVmarker weather anchor (2005-present) and one time The Dating Game contestant 1999.
  • Anna Song (B.A., 1999) - KATUmarker investigative reporter, weekend anchor (1999-present), 2007 Emmy for Human Interest News Series, 2007 Regional Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting.

Politics and Government


View of Pepperdine swimming pool.

Rankings and reputation

The Princeton Review ranked Pepperdine on the list of colleges with "Dorms Like Palaces" in 2004 and 2007 and #1 under "Most Beautiful Campus" in 2006 and 2007. Pepperdine also appeared on other lists including "Students Pray on a Regular Basis," and "High Quality of Life." Because of its Christian affiliation, some contend that the student body breeds a religious and politically conservative atmosphere. Princeton Review also ranked Pepperdine University #13 in its list "Alternative Lifestyles not an Alternative". In 2007 Pepperdine was named as "One of the Top Producing Colleges and Universities" by the Peace Corps of America. The 2005 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges has also noted Pepperdine as being one of the nation's largest conservative colleges. U.S. News & World Report (see “Pepperdine at Glance” in the external links section) has ranked Pepperdine as the 58th best national university for undergraduate education, its law school is rated as 51th among the top 100 law schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution is currently ranked number 1 in the nation. The Graziadio School of Business & Management has been consistently ranked by BusinessWeek as having one of the world's Top 25 Executive MBA programs, and US News & World Report has ranked the Graziadio School's Fully-Employed MBA program in the world's Top 30 and its Full-Time MBA program in the world's Top 100.
 Forbes magazine has ranked the Graziadio School's Fully-Employed MBA programs in the world's Top 20 based on ROI.
 Financial Times magazine has ranked the Graziadio School's EMBA in the world's Top 50. In 2008, the magazine In Tune for music educators named Pepperdine one of the 38 best music schools in the United States. In 2009, the Sustainable Endowments Institute awarded Pepperdine a "C" for its sustainability efforts in the annual College Sustainability Report Card.

The popular Nickelodeon kid's series, "Zoey 101" was shot on Pepperdine's Malibu campus. Pepperdine signs were covered with trendy, purple signs reading "Pacific Coast Academy", the name of the boarding school attended by the students on the show.


  1. Aldore Collier, FaithDome: "A grand-slam homer for Jesus.", Ebony, December 1989.
  2. Vanessa Jahn, GSEP 35th Anniversary: A Celebratory Evening to Remember, Colleague Alumni Magazine, Spring 2006.
  3. Tracy Domingo, Miracle at Malibu Materialized, Graphic, November 14, 2002
  4. Associated Press according to CNN
  5. Pepperdine's Religion Division web site.
  6. News | School of Law | Pepperdine University
  7. member chart
  8. Jack Kemp Institute at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy
  9. Pepperdine University - School of Public Policy Celebrates 2006 Graduation
  10. [1]
  11. Robert Warrior Biography
  12. College of Wooster Chemistry
  13. [2]
  14. Pepperdine University - Seaver College - Academics- Faculty
  15. Pepperdine University - School of Law
  16. Hats Off For Cancer Web site
  17. The MT Interview: Robert Tchenguiz
  19. official website of THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT
  20. Ventura County District Attorney
  21. California Courts: Courts: Courts of Appeal: 4th District Division 3: Justices: Eileen C. Moore
  22. Biography of Colleen P. Graffy
  23. Player Bio: Mike Leach :: Football
  25. to Attend, Part I::By Mike S. Adams
  26. Register for The Princeton Review
  27. America's Best Graduate Schools 2008: Top Law Schools

External links

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