Volume 5 Issue 3 Fall 2013
Highly acclaimed musicians ALEXANDER TREGER and LYNN HARRELL join the Fine Arts Division faculty as artists in residence.
THE POWER OF THREE
STRAIGHT FROM THE DEANS
Whose Life Will You Change? change lives. give today. pepperdine.edu/campaign Malibu • West Los Angeles • Encino • Irvine • Silicon Valley • Westlake Village • Washington, D.C. Heidelberg • London • Florence • Buenos Aires • Lausanne • Shanghai
Volume 5 Issue 3 Fall 2013
FEATURES 14 The Power of Three Three Seaver alumni are changing Indonesia’s infrastructure at the leading energy company in the country.
17 First, Served The Seaver College Office of Admission is responding to the growing population of first-generation students with a dynamic pre-orientation program.
20 Straight from the Deans The deans of Pepperdine’s five schools share their thoughts on higher education, leadership, and the 2013–2014 academic year.
24 Launch Stars Five Graziadio School alumni are turning their passions into professions.
30 32 34 36 38 41 44
Incredible Range A Bit of History Repeating Judge and Jurist Los Angeles Calling Remembering C. S. Lewis Back in Action Of Maestros and Men
2 4 6 12 28 48
Letters Perspectives News Snapshot Alumni In Focus
L E T T ER FR O M T H E ED I TO R “If we’re going to have an effect on the community, we have to be a part of the community.” GSEP student and World Impact COO Romney Ruder believes he is best able to serve Angelenos in need by living and working among them, tightly knit into the South Los Angeles community. In this issue of Pepperdine Magazine, we meet several members of the Pepperdine family who are changing lives by fully engaging in their communities: Seaver College alumni who are impacting their native Indonesia by partnering in business in their homeland; Pepperdine deans working together to shape this university; and first-generation undergraduates helping each other grow and thrive as incoming students. We also get to know individuals who credit the support of the Pepperdine community in helping them achieve their goals: budding entrepreneurs from the Graziadio School who are successfully finding their way in the business world; a music major who parlayed her passion into a profession as a laryngological surgeon; and former Pepperdine law students who ascended to the federal bench.
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L E T T ER S TO T H E ED I TO R I continue to enjoy Pepperdine Magazine. Great breadth of articles enthusiastically written with accompanying relative photographs. As a retiree from Pepperdine (Communication Division, ‘07), I am kept up-to-date about the “buzz” of Pepperdine—students, faculty, administrators, and departments—which is impressive. Though my wife and I live on an island in the middle of Puget Sound, Washington, Pepperdine Magazine keeps us in touch with our special university. Thank you. Winfred G. Allen
Brain in Motion I am thrilled about your article in the August Pepperdine Magazine, “Brain in Motion.” I am an alum of Pepperdine class of 1942 with a joint major of education and psychology. I have taught in elementary schools and then for the last 15 years at Cal State University, Fresno, in the Early Childhood Department. My main subject was the teaching of reading. I had a strong emphasis in reading stories to the children and telling stories and I learned many things. In my reading classes I emphasized “telling” stories, which is a different skill but very rewarding. However, I did not know why, and you have explained it so well in this article. Mildred Rochelle (’42, MS ’77)
Today I had the opportunity to read your summer issue. I enjoyed catching up on Pepperdine current events and especially enjoyed Louis Cozolino’s reflections on the power and importance of storytelling. For me the stories we tell, the stories we pass on, bear witness to our lives. A few years back, my wife Georgianna became sick with a brain mass. While she was being treated I started to write. I wanted to remember some of the huggable moments that made me laugh, the moments that now seem so far away. The stories are for my kids and grandkids. Soon, I will pack them up and give a copy to each of them for a Christmas present. Godspeed and God bless as you continue riding the wave. Yes, we are all part of God’s ocean. John Tammaro
Megan Huard Boyle
ART DIRECTOR AND APP DEVELOPER
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PUBLISHED BY THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER , AND VICE PRESIDENT FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND CHURCH RELATIONS
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Pepperdine Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 3, Fall 2013. Pepperdine Magazine is the feature magazine for Pepperdine University and its growing community of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends. It is published quarterly by the University’s Public Affairs division. Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California, 90263 Pepperdine Magazine is produced with guidance from an advisory board representing a cross-section of the University community. Send address changes with publication name to:
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310.506.4000 Abbreviations GPC: George Pepperdine College SC: Seaver College SOL: School of Law SPP: School of Public Policy GSBM: Graziadio School of Business and Management GSEP: Graduate School of Education and Psychology Pepperdine is affiliated with Churches of Christ, of which the University’s founder, George Pepperdine, was a lifelong member. PA11309043
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PERSPE PERSPECTIVES P CTIVES PE
The Future of the Undergraduate Residential Campus Some predict that massive online open courses (MOOCs) offered for free by prestigious universities will soon obliterate undergraduate residential campuses. For example, Nathan Harden, in a recent article, “The End of the University as We Know It,” asserts: The future looks like this: Access to college-level education will be free for everyone; the residential college campus will become largely obsolete; tens of thousands of professors will lose their jobs; the bachelor’s degree will become increasingly irrelevant; and 10 years from now Harvard will enroll 10 million students. Although we are clearly in a midst of technological revolution and need to pay careful attention to changing trends, the predicted bleak future may not be considering all the factors.
by MARK DAVIS Dean of Student Affairs, Seaver College
First, as Sir Ken Robinson recently reminded Pepperdine faculty and staff at a leadership conference, it’s very difficult to predict the future of higher education. Yes, you can point to industries that the technology revolution has completely changed, rendering some forms of delivery largely obsolete—e.g., music stores and newspapers. But some say colleges are more like cities, with the ability to adapt and evolve as needs change. If you look at Pepperdine’s history, we have adjusted to major crises through wise stewardship and creative innovation without sacrificing our mission.
Pepperdine has more to offer. Our mission is about transformation, not transmission. Second, predictions about the downfall of residential campuses are based on a uniform view of education that limits its mission to the transmission of academic knowledge. Pepperdine has more to offer. Our mission is about transformation, not transmission. Mr. Pepperdine described it this way: “I have often said that this college tries to teach students how to live, as well as how to make a living. We want every student to have a full realization of eternal values such as the beauty of a noble character, the value of absolute integrity, the advantages of complete justice and truth in all human relationships, and most of all, a closer walk with God.” Pepperdine offers a transformative experience that can’t be replicated online. Third, there’s no substitute for the powerful impact of the peer culture at a residential college. Alexander Astin, summarizing decades of research in his book What Matters in College, concluded that the student’s peer group is the single most potent source of influence on growth and development during the undergraduate years. That’s why we invest so much care in selecting student resident advisors and spiritual life advisors. They help create the type of positive peer environment where parents want to send their children to school. Several years ago we held an essay contest at the end of the academic year for freshmen to reflect on what they learned from living in the residence halls. I kept a copy of the winning essay by Kevin Mills (’07) because it’s a great example of the essential connection between what is taught in the classroom and what is learned in the community. In this final summary paragraph of the essay, we see how the residential experience fosters deep and meaningful growth:
These past months of living on campus have impacted me more than I could ever have previously imagined. Through living on campus and away from home for the first time, I’ve come to comprehend creativity, tolerance, responsibility, understanding, and so many other truly meaningful life lessons that have surpassed in importance anything that I could learn only in a classroom. In speech class I learned the rules of rhetoric, but in my dorm I learned how to speak words of consolation to a hurting roommate and to understand the words that go unsaid. In religion class I learned theology, but in my suite I saw true faith. In sociology class I studied the dynamics of race inequality, but in my room I felt the pain of prejudice. In history I read about great men, but in my everyday life I learned how to be a great man. This first year of living on campus has taught me that success is not about getting an “A” on a test or the moments of acclaim in front of a large audience, but rather is made up of the thousands of tiny actions and choices that we make each day that comprise the person we truly are as we go about living our daily lives.
at Pepperdine obsolete. His answer was clear: even if MOOCs are successful in extending the reach of education, there will still be a huge need and demand for the holistic experience Pepperdine offers. Looking back, Kevin said so much of his growth depended on personal relationships with faculty, staff, and friends. An education is more than transmitting content. An education is more than finding a job. At Pepperdine, it’s also about answering life’s most important questions and exploring faith in supportive relationships. It’s about how to live, not just how to make a living. So what is the future of residential undergraduate education? Our biggest challenge will be to keep it affordable so that we continue to enjoy a diverse student body. While hard to predict, there will always be a demand for an education that focuses on heart, mind, and soul in the context of meaningful, personal relationships between faculty, staff, and peers who live together in community. Pepperdine will continue to adapt with the technological revolution while remaining true to its Christian mission to prepare students for a life of purpose, service, and leadership.
Kevin was later elected as president of the Student Government Association. After graduating from Pepperdine he went on to complete a JD and MBA at one of the nation’s highest ranked universities. Now he works for a company that offers MOOCs in association with prestigious universities. I recently sent Kevin a copy of his essay and asked him if he thinks technological advances will one day make a residential experience like he experienced
DAVENPORT INSTITUTE EXPLORES COLLABORATIVE GOVERNANCE AT ANNUAL MEETING Each year university faculty and staff affiliated with the 2013 University Network for Collaborative Governance (UNCG) come together to examine the work being done to assist citizens and leaders to engage in dialogue, problem solving, and conflict resolution around public issues. This year’s meeting, hosted in June by the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at the School of Public Policy, focused on the central question: “What new approaches or ways of thinking can university centers bring to collaborative decision-making with both stakeholders and the public?” “The meeting was a tremendous opportunity for the Davenport Institute and the School of Public Policy to deepen relationships with some of the top universities in the country,” says Pete Peterson (MPP ’07), executive director of the Davenport Institute. “Attendees particularly enjoyed the opportunity to explore topics as wide-ranging as ‘Civility and Collaborative Governance’ and ‘Beneﬁts and Limitations to Public Ofﬁcials Partnering with Universities in Municipal Public Budgeting Efforts’ in the beautiful surroundings of the Malibu campus.” The conference featured a plenary panel examining the City of Bell’s dramatic shift toward public engagement and transparency. Peterson moderated the panel with Ken Hampian, former City of Bell interim city manager, and Ana Maria Quintana, City of Bell councilmember and recently elected mayor pro tem. UNCG is a national network of over two-dozen university-based centers spanning from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School to the University of Hawaii, and from the University of Washington to Florida State University. The mission of the network is to promote public engagement through research, training, and consulting. The meetings focus on decision-making that genuinely incorporates the public in policy deﬁnition, creation, and implementation. publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/davenport-institute
SEVENTH ANNUAL WILLIAM FRENCH SMITH LECTURE WELCOMES THE HONORABLE MICHAEL CHERTOFF The Honorable Michael Chertoff, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, sat down with School of Law dean Deanell Reece Tacha November 1 at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, for the seventh annual William French Smith Memorial Lecture. The conversation, which took place in the Presidential Learning Center, focused on the topic, “Big Data as Big Brother,” and was followed by a reception at the Presidential Learning Center Mezzanine. In his role as secretary, Chertoff led the country in blocking would-be terrorists from crossing our borders or implementing their plans if they were already in the country. He also transformed FEMA into an effective organization following Hurricane Katrina. His greatest successes have earned few headlines because what’s important is what didn’t happen. Before heading up the Department of Homeland Security, Chertoff served as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Earlier, during more than a decade as a federal prosecutor, he investigated and prosecuted cases of political corruption, organized crime, corporate fraud, and terrorism—including the investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. law.pepperdine.edu/wfs
GRAZIADIO SCHOOL CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF EDUCATION-TOBUSINESS PROGRAM This fall the Graziadio School of Business and Management celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Education-to-Business (E2B) program, a real-world intense learning experience embedded within the curriculum of select MBA classes such as marketing, finance, information systems, decision sciences, and organization management. Over the past 10 years, Pepperdine students have completed 285 consulting projects for businesses of all sizes in a variety of industry sectors. The E2B program provides applied, experiential learning that allows students to translate textbook theories into solving real-world business challenges. Over a 14-week term, students research, analyze, and provide recommendations to selected businesses. At the end of the trimester, the teams present a report—both oral and written—to the team of executives. In spring 2014 Pepperdine will embark on its 300th E2B project. “There is nothing more powerful than watching students who have little or no familiarity with complex theory in a given subject area, not only learn the theory, but apply it to create solutions for a company,” said Doreen Shanahan, E2B program director and marketing faculty. “It’s only with the collaboration of innovative faculty, committed toward improvement, that we were able to get this program to the level of success it is today.” Now Pepperdine has enhanced the program by offering global E2B projects through their G3 course (Going Global with Graziadio). During this course students plan entry into a foreign market for their E2B clients and the teams travel to the target country to conduct primary research, establish relationships, and validate the proposed global business development strategy. bschool.pepperdine.edu/e2b
GSEP DEAN’S DISTINGUISHED LECTURE SERIES PRESENTS ETIENNE AND BEVERLY WENGER-TRAYNER The Graduate School of Education and Psychology Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series hosted Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, two pioneers of communities of practice, for a discussion on “Learning in Landscapes of Practice: Recent Developments in Social Learning Theory” on October 5 in West Los Angeles. The Wenger-Trayners presented recent developments in social learning theory and discussed with the audience their applicability to their work. Etienne Wenger-Trayner is a globally recognized thought leader in the ﬁeld of social learning and communities of practice. He has authored and coauthored seminal articles and books on the topic, including Situated Learning, where the term “community of practice” was coined. Beverly Wenger-Trayner is a learning consultant specializing in communities of practice and social learning systems. Her expertise encompasses both the design of learning architectures and the facilitation of processes, activities, and use of new technologies. She has published chapters and articles about learning in internationally distributed communities and coauthored a popular toolkit on social reporting. She has also been the creative director of an open-source platform for networked communities. Sponsored by Susan (EdD ’86) and Don Rice, the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series brings leading agents of change to GSEP to discuss the challenges and opportunities in servant-leadership in communities across the world.
This fall the Graziadio School also enrolled its 100th cohort in the Executive MBA program and marked the 10-year anniversary of the dedication of the Drescher Graduate Campus.
LISA SMITH WENGLER ENDOWS CENTER FOR THE ARTS University Board member and longtime Pepperdine friend Lisa Smith Wengler has made a magnanimous estate commitment to the Campaign for Pepperdine to endow the University’s Center for the Arts. Lisa has been a friend and benefactor to Pepperdine for nearly two decades and has served on the University Board since 2011. With this major gift, the campaign has now raised more than $400 million of its $450 million goal. Born and raised in Germany, Smith Wengler is a successful builder and developer in Malibu. Her friendship with Pepperdine began in 1994 when she met and enjoyed the company of former Pepperdine president Norvel Young and Pepperdine matriarch Helen Young (‘39). In addition to her service on the University Board, Smth Wengler is also a member of the University Libraries campaign committee and has a special interest in the arts and scholarships. “We are so proud to count Lisa as part of our Pepperdine family,” said Keith Hinkle, senior vice president for advancement and public affairs. “Her heart for philanthropy has always been an inspiration to us, but this latest gift is simply transformational and will provide unimagined opportunities for our ﬁne arts programs at Pepperdine.” Prior to this major commitment, Smith Wengler has made other signiﬁcant gifts to the Center for the Arts, as well as the Payson Library renovation. Acknowledging her faithful support, Pepperdine named in her honor in 2005 the beautiful fountain terrace at the entrance of Smothers Theatre. Beyond Pepperdine, she is also a member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council board of directors where she serves as vice chair.
PEPPERDINE EXCELS IN LATEST NCAA GRADUATION SUCCESS RATE REPORT The Pepperdine University Department of Athletics continues to excel in the latest “NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) Report,” which was released by the national organization in October. The Waves boast an overall GSR rate of 93 percent, better than the national average of 81 percent (which is an all-time best since the NCAA began tracking the statistic). The newest GSR data covers student-athletes who enrolled between 2003 and 2006. Ten of Pepperdine’s 14 teams enjoy GSR rates better than the national average for their sports. Nine of the Waves’ teams have 100 percent GSR rates: baseball, men’s cross country/track, women’s
Fall 2013 highlights at the Center for the Arts included Wynonna and The Big Noise, Roger McGuinn and Marty Stuart with the Fabulous Superlatives, and the Golden Dragon Acrobats. This spring, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art will open an exhibit, “Works on Paper,” by acclaimed California Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud. arts.pepperdine.edu
cross country/track, men’s golf, women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s volleyball, and women’s volleyball. The Waves also do very well compared to their peers. Of the 24 Division I schools in California, Pepperdine’s rate of 93 percent is tied for third place overall. The West Coast Conference rates very highly and the Waves are one of ﬁve member schools that are above 90 percent. The NCAA began compiling these ﬁgures with the entering ﬁrst-year class of 1995 and developed the GSR in order to more accurately assess the academic success of student-athletes. The GSR includes transfer students and student-athletes who leave in good academic standing. The GSR measures graduation rates over six years from initial college enrollment. pepperdinesports.com
John Lennox makes a point while Michael Shermer looks on.
The Kinseys with dean of libraries Mark Roosa (left) and director of library advancement and public relations Ken LaZebnik (rear).
PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY HOSTS
UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES PRESENTS
FOURTH ANNUAL VERITAS FORUM
THE KINSEY COLLECTION
Pepperdine hosted the fourth annual Veritas Forum on November 11 in Malibu. The interactive and interdisciplinary conference seeks to engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life.
In September the University Libraries displayed “The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey– Where Art and History Intersect,” a national touring exhibit of authentic and rare artifacts, art, books, documents, and manuscripts that tell the often untold story of African American achievement and contribution.
The forum featured two speakers who examined the theme, “The Nature of Evil and Suffering,” from their unique perspectives. John Lennox, who presented the theist argument, is a professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science, and pastoral advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. Michael Shermer (‘76), founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, presented a nontheist argument. Lennox has written a number of books on the interface between science, philosophy, and theology. These include God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?, Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target, and Seven Days That Divide the World. Shermer is the executive director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientiﬁc American, the host of the Skeptics Society’s Distinguished Science Lecture Series, and adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University.
“Bernard and Shirley Kinsey’s passion for African American history, art, and culture has resulted in a stunning collection of African American art, documents, and artifacts spanning 400 years of history,” says dean of libraries Mark Roosa. With education as a goal, the Kinsey Collection has been on national tour since 2007 and has been seen by over 3 million visitors. The collection has exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the California African American Museum, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and many other museums. The collection has been cited in three national awards including the President’s National Award for Museum and Library Services. The Kinsey Collection program book serves as a companion to the exhibit and has been adopted by the Florida Department of Education to teach African American history to students in grades K-12 statewide. library.pepperdine.edu
Join the nearly 15,000 visitors who watched Pepperdine’s Veritas Forum online: new.livestream.com/ pepperdineuniversity
GRAZIADIO SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT HOSTS 2013 SEER
“STILL LAUGH-IN” TRIBUTE HONORS ALUMNUS GEORGE SCHLATTER
SYMPOSIUM The fourth annual Socially, Environmentally, and Ethically Responsible (SEER) Symposium, held November 8 in Malibu, brought students and social entrepreneurs together with inspirational business leaders who have achieved success using the SEER lens. Hosted by Michael Crooke, lead faculty of the SEER Certiﬁcate program, assistant professor of strategy, and former CEO of Patagonia; and Larry Cox, lead faculty of entrepreneurship programs and associate professor of entrepreneurship, this year’s program included the inaugural SEER Symposium Fast Pitch Competition with the chance to win $1,000. Featured speakers included Ayr Muir, founder of Clover Food Lab, and Mark Bowles, founder of ecoATM. Notable members of the panel discussions include Greg Steltenpohl, founder of Odwalla and CEO of Caliﬁa Farms; Chris Mann, cofounder and CEO of Guayaki Yerba Mate; Rick Ridgeway, vice president of environmental affairs at Patagonia, Inc.; Ankur Jain, founder and chair of Kairos; and Marilyn Tam, the former CEO of Aveda and author of The Happiness Choice. Many sustainable business programs have focused attention on “the triple bottom line”—People, Planet, Proﬁts. The Certiﬁcate in Socially, Environmentally and Ethically Responsible (SEER) Business Strategy program, offered to Pepperdine’s full-time MBA students, goes a step beyond and adds a fourth factor to the equation: Product. Learn more about Pepperdine’s unique SEER Certificate program at bschool.pepperdine.edu/seer and watch the symposium: new.livestream.com/pepperdineuniversity
Hollywood’s most legendary figures came together at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California, September 25, to pay tribute to award-winning television producer and Pepperdine alumnus George Schlatter. The event was the first in the Hollywood Visionaries and Beyond series, a string of lectures, film screenings, and symposia celebrating the Jewish visionaries who helped create Hollywood. The tribute, hosted by Larry King, served as a beneﬁt for the creation of the George Schlatter Comedy Collection at Pepperdine, as well as a workshop program to teach students the art of improv and comedic writing and performance. Screen stars such as Kirk Douglas, Lily Tomlin, Shirley MacLaine, and Tim Conway took the stage to share fond memories and laughs with the entertainment legend. Developed in collaboration with the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture and Pepperdine University Libraries, the Hollywood Visionaries and Beyond series was supported by the Brenden Mann Foundation founded by Johnny Brenden, the grandson of Hollywood producer and theatre magnate Ted Mann. Other events throughout October and November included an exhibition of photography from the golden age of Hollywood by noted photographer Leigh Wiener, as well as photographs of renowned Los Angeles movie palaces from the collection of Bruce Corwin. “American Dreams and the Big Screen: Projections of Jewish Faith, Ethnicity, and Culture Through the Generations” featured clips from the ﬁlms Gentleman’s Agreement, The Graduate, and A Serious Man. A screening of My Favorite Year with Norman Steinberg explored the theme “Jewish Humor in the TV Writers’ Room.” The Laemmle families and Universal’s horror ﬁlms were featured in the panel discussion “From Draculas to Dybbuks.” pepperdine.edu/hollywood-visionaries
Actress Sharon Lawrence
Producer Suzanne de Passe
Director Lesli Linka Glatter Historian and author Cari Beauchamp
STRAUS INSTITUTE AND CENTER FOR ENTERTAINMENT, MEDIA, AND CULTURE HOST WOMEN IN HOLLYWOOD CONFERENCE Women have played important roles in the entertainment industry from its earliest days, achieving success as artists and attaining leadership positions in the industry. Yet significant challenges still exist. Women in Hollywood: 100 Years of Negotiating the System, held November 15-16 on the Malibu campus, addressed the issues facing women individually and collectively in the entertainment industry. “Women in creative, business, and legal roles still face a scarcity of opportunities in entertainment,” said professor Thomas J. Stipanowich, academic director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the School of Law. “We hope this event will help advance the discussion on how to manage conﬂicts and relationships, both personal and professional, in order to successfully negotiate the system.” The two-day symposium, cosponsored by the Straus Institute and the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture, was the concluding event of the Hollywood Visionaries and Beyond series. Speakers included Nell Scovell, coauthor of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In; Lesli Linka Glatter, director and co-executive producer of the Showtime series Homeland; Melissa Rosenberg, screenwriter of the Twilight Saga ﬁlm series; Lucy Fisher, producer of Divergent; historian and author Cari Beauchamp; noted American ﬁlm and television director and writer Victoria Hochberg; Linda Lichter, entertainment attorney at Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman, Inc.; Victoria Riskin, former president of the Writers Guild of America; and Tom Sherak, former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. law.pepperdine.edu/straus
Les MisĂŠrables In one of the first college performances of the classic musical, Cathy Thomas-Grant directed the student and community cast in seven sold-out shows of the Fine Arts Division production. More photos from opening night: magazine.pepperdine.edu/les-mis
The Power of Three Seaver alumni who met as young men are now changing Indonesia’s infrastructure at the leading energy company in the country. By Gareen Darakjian
Twenty years ago Arsjad Rasjid (’92) waited for his mother in a boarding school parking lot in San Marino, California. He unpacked his luggage while she registered him for his first day of classes. At 15 years old, he had just migrated from Indonesia and did not know a soul at Southwestern Academy. Two boys noticed him unloading the car and rushed to help. One of them was Agus Lasmono (’93), who now joins Rasjid and Wishnu Wardhana (‘93) at the helm of PT Indika Energy Tbk, the leading
integrated energy company in Indonesia. That day Rasjid and Lasmono became fast friends when they discovered they were both from the same country, 8,000 miles away from where they stood. Rasjid felt the same connection with Wardhana, another Indonesian transplant, whom he met as an engineering student at USC prior to transferring to Pepperdine to pursue business economics. And over the course of the next 25 years, the three men have worked together to aid in the development of their homeland through Indika Energy. The company, which was officially incorporated in 2000, is Indonesia’s leading integrated energy company and the third-largest producer of coal in the
country. Indika focuses on how energy relates to Indonesia’s development and finds ways for these interconnections to be strengthened to promote economic and social progress. “Indonesia has almost everything from rich resources to young and productive demography, and strong macroeconomic policy to political stability. As an energy company, we are among those who contribute to providing the resources needed to run things in life,” explains Rasjid, vice president director and group chief financial and operating officer. He goes on to say that Indika directs businesses in ways that bring value to both citizens and stakeholders.
“The spirit we keep as an Indonesian company is to continuously improve and set new benchmarks for the industry and beyond on our operational or service excellence, business integrity, governance, and social responsibility.” Most important to the three men is taking part in the betterment of Indonesia. After graduating from Pepperdine, Rasjid returned home to Jakarta to work for Mistubishi Motors as deputy director of finance. After dipping his feet into the automotive industry, he switched gears and became a key player in developing Indonesia’s digital presence with cable television in the mid-1990s. The goal was to help the country transition from satellite to multimedia, similar to Time Warner in the U.S. In-between his roles as director of programming there and as a director at a programming company creating interactive games for television programs, Indonesia became gripped by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, requiring corporations across Asia to restructure. Lasmono, vice president commissioner of Indika, who also returned to his home country after graduation, recalls, “It was
a very difficult time for Indonesia and many businesses faced tough challenges of simply surviving—including my family business.” Lasmono’s father was a top executive at Salim Group, Indonesia’s largest conglomerate, and was in ill health at the time. His various investments—several hundred—were not controlled by a single entity and were in need of a wellthought-out plan to add structure and stability to myriad assets. Rasjid, wellversed in both financial and technical aspects of thriving corporations, jumped at the chance to help. Their plans soon shifted when the prospect of energy fell into their laps. When a power plant project was proposed to the team, “we remembered that Wishnu’s family was in energy, so Agus and I went to him to discuss whether we wanted to go into business together. That’s where Indika started.” Before then, Wardhana had cofounded two companies—Mahaka Group, a mining company that evolved to incorporating a multimedia holding company with various businesses, as well as Teladan Resources, an investment holding company, and Teladan Prima Group, an agricultural company. “At the time, the country’s economy was strong and the political situation was stable,” says Wardhana. “Indonesia was an emerging country with its potential and opportunities very much unknown to the outside world.” In 2002 the team began by taking over a British Petroleum (BP)-owned petrochemical company, PT PENI, the only one in operation in Indonesia at the time. “We proposed to them a better chemical business,” recalls Rasjid. “We were not the highest bidders, but we
were able to recommend a plan that BP actually liked, so we bought the company for $50 million.” Challenged by the company’s management control, Rasjid and his team sold it one year later for $60 million. While in the process of making the sale, the team took on a new project: building power plants in Indonesia. Namely, coal. “When we looked at the map of Indonesian economy, one of the key sectors we identified was energy,” says Lasmono. “Indonesia is a large country with huge economic potential, but the growth potential is constrained because of limitation in its infrastructure.” “One of the key infrastructures for its economy is energy. When we looked further into this problem facing the economy, we saw opportunity to participate and build a strong business.” They looked to China for financial backing and made a fateful discovery while meeting with power companies in
If people like us don’t help shape the country’s bright future, then who else will? —Arsjad Rasjid
Beijing: Chinese political policy regarding energy was about to change. “China wanted to follow the U.S.,” says Rasjid. “They demanded that 50 percent of their coal could not be exploited and that supply and demand was changing.” Indika tapped Malaysia to buy the raw materials to meet China’s supply demands. Eventually, they launched the project to build a 4,600 megawatt power plant in Indonesia and purchased 51 percent of shares from a company that was in the process of
As a native Indonesian, it is my obligation to help develop the country by resolving one of its greatest needs: providing affordable energy supply to its economy. — Agus Lasmono
reducing their assets. Now Indika provides integrated energy solutions through its diversified investments in the areas of energy resources, energy services, and energy infrastructure. “It’s about participating in the whole value chain of energy production,” says Lasmono. Indika’s strategic investments lie in the areas of coal production (PT Kideco Jaya Agung); oil and gas engineering, procurement, and construction services (PT Tripatra Engineers and Constructors); coal engineering, mining, and construction (PT Petrosea Tbk); logistic and shipping services (PT Mitrabahtera Segara Sejati Tbk); and
a power generation project (PT Cirebon Electric Power). “I think this is my personal passion to take part in the betterment of the country,” explains Rasjid. “Even now the world starts to realize that indeed Indonesia is the new center of global growth, but the challenges remain big, requiring joint effort of many parties in and private sectors.” both government an his part in For Lasmono, h is Indonesia’s development deve a requirement. “As a native Indonesian, it is my obligation to help develop the country one of its greatest by resolving on providing affordable needs: provid energy supply to its economy, ” he says. “At eco the same time, this th presents us with pr aan opportunity to build profitable b businesses b aand generate eemployment and other opportunities o for fellow Indonesians.” Indika plays a significant role in nation-building and works with Paramadina University in Jakarta to promote education in remote areas of the country by providing scholarships and fellowships to students. “Nation building requires a strong corps of leaders and those leaders must be well educated,” Rasjid asserts. “We hope that this way Indika Energy can help plant the seeds of the nation’s future leaders across the archipelago.” Wardhana’s contribution even goes beyond the national border. Recently, he was appointed as the chair of the AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC)
reporting to the 21 APEC Leaders— presidents and prime ministers—of the APEC member economies and also the chair of APEC CEO Summit 2013. In that capacity, he expressed his confidence in Indonesia’s ability to play an important role as one of the main players in the world’s production chain. Especially, he explained, with the enormous young and productive workforce available in the country. “Being involved in this energy development, I personally hope to support the country’s economic growth which in turn brings welfare to the people,” says Wardhana. “Moreover, being in the driver’s seat of an influential energy company, I can contribute further by ensuring good mining and corporate practices which lead to a more sustainable development.” Together, Rasjid, Lasmono, and Wardhana comprise a powerful team of nation-builders whose relationship is the ultimate foundation for business. The trio, who recently made a generous gift to Pepperdine, credits fundamental values such as trust, fairness, and openness, while always maintaining a high degree of professionalism in managing their respective roles as leaders of the company. “All the good macroeconomic statistics that Indonesia has enjoyed thus far rely heavily on few centralized economic centers in Java,” says Rasjid. “Now imagine what will happen if economic development in the other parts of the country is successfully triggered. If people like us don’t help shape the country’s bright future, then who else will?”
THE E SEAVER SEAVER COLLEGE COLLEGE OFFICE OF ADMISSION IS S RESPONDING TO T THE GROWING POPULATION OF FIRST-GENERATION STUDENTS AT PEPPERDINE WITH A DYNAMIC PRE-ORIENTATION PROGRAM. By Gareen Darakjian Many first-year college students enter the world of higher education nervously. They struggle with a fear of the unknown and grapple with unfamiliar concepts of university life. This is particularly true for one group of incoming first-years: firstgeneration students. Of this year’s incoming Seaver College class, 21 percent listed themselves as firstgeneration students on their applications— a statistic that has seen steady growth in recent years. Pepperdine’s experience is consistent with an increasing national trend, as more universities have seen an influx of first-generation candidates. In a record application year, with 10,443 applicants vying for a seat at Seaver College, this rising
number is even more significant. In response to this growing population, the Office of Admission has developed a uniquely tailored program to ease the transition for a remarkable group of students taking their first leap into unknown territory. Three years ago associate director of admission Sarah Carter received an unsettling e-mail from the guardian of an incoming first-year, just one day before New Student Orientation was set to begin. It simply stated that her grandchild would not be attending the event. “The only reason we can give for this terrible decision is that he is just afraid,” the note read. “Neither one of his parents attended college and I think he is afraid of success.” Moved by that heartbreaking discovery, Carter and her colleagues, including now
director of admission Laura Kalinkewicz, thought how the Office of Admission could facilitate a sense of belonging and literacy in incoming college students who lack a background in higher education. “This was only one student that we’ve heard of who didn’t come,” says Carter, “but how many other students didn’t send me an e-mail? How many students didn’t come? We knew there were ways that we could make students feel comfortable about coming to college and feel empowered about it.” The Pepperdine Summer Preview (PSP) answered that call with its three-day pre-orientation experience organized for a select group of admitted first-generation students. “These are fantastic students who are wonderful fits for Pepperdine, who have already shown leadership skills,” Carter explains.
Our parents can’t help us. There’s really nobody to relate to. Experiencing Pepperdine firsthand was the best way to do it.
Lauren Chong Amoni Henderson
—AMONI HENDERSON According to Kalinkewicz, first-generation students bring firsthand, experiential insight to areas within the University that could become more streamlined, accessible, and straightforward. “They are determined and resilient, and their adaptability is well suited to the college environment,” she explains. “Many of them feel empowered by all they have accomplished, and they use their experiences navigating challenges and new environments to become vocal champions for change.” Beyond acquainting them with the University’s campus community prior to New Student Orientation, PSP creates a space for participating students to build relationships with their peers, as well as mentors who have gone through the program. “We wanted students to feel comfortable on campus,” explains Carter. “You can say it through an e-mail, you can say it over a phone call, but getting students on campus to experience that firsthand and know that we care about them succeeding at Pepperdine has been the most significant outcome.” Seaver first-year student Lauren Chong admits to feeling like a fish out of water when she learned of her acceptance to Pepperdine. Although neither of her parents attended a four-year university, they instilled in her the value of higher education and encouraged her to build a strong academic foundation. Her father, a Cuban refugee who arrived to the U.S. as a child, grew up in a household that emphasized hard work and ensured his children applied that same work ethic to their education.
Though she had the support of her family, she encountered an extra hurdle when it came time to navigate the experience. “I didn’t know how classes worked in college and couldn’t turn to my parents for suggestions on the four-year plan,” she says. “How it all works, internships, all these aspects that play into my future … I had to go out on campus and find the answers to all my questions.” Carter explains that a lack of social capital—knowledge about norms and unspoken rules that is missing due to one’s social environment, status, or upbringing— is one of the most significant challenges that first-generation students face when entering the university system. In comparison to their peers whose parents attended college, she says, “Those students come in and encounter an extra step in learning what the college experience should be.” One of the ways the PSP combats this is by introducing incoming first-generation students to current students who can give them insight into questions like, “What are some things I wish I knew when I first came to college?” With three cohorts having already proceeded through the PSP program, the new crop of first-generation students benefit from the support of the upperclassmen who have experienced the unique challenges and opportunities that this particular population faces. Seaver first-year student Amoni Henderson is familiar with this phenomenon. “We felt like we established close bonds and had friends when we came in,” he says. “It didn’t feel like a completely new experience coming in without knowing anybody. We
were comfortable when we got here as opposed to just coming and being thrown right into it, because we met some faculty members, students, and got to know the school and how to get around. “Our parents can’t help us. There’s really nobody to relate to. Coming in and experiencing Pepperdine firsthand before school started was the best way to do it.” Henderson, a Church of Christ member who chose Pepperdine for its small class sizes and appealing student-to-teacher ratio, was not even aware of his first-generation status until he arrived at Pepperdine and was contacted by Seaver Admission. His father skipped college to join musician MC Hammer on tour and his mother was a stayat-home mom who raised Henderson and his siblings. Though he was never pressured by his parents to be the first in his family to go to college, he knew his future was in his hands and that college was a natural next step towards a future in comedy, his ultimate pursuit. Due to the financial demands of applying to and attending college, Henderson applied for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, a leadership-based grant given to minority students with financial need. “I really had to decide what I wanted with my life as a whole,” he explains. “One of the most important things to me about college is building relationships and building my convictions as a disciple. It never really became an option until I got my scholarship. There was no way.” For first-year Lauren Davila, the prospect of studying abroad was one that seemed
Who Are the Seaver College Class of 2017?
784 Church of Christ afﬁliation
exciting, yet daunting, before learning about Pepperdine’s International Programs (IP) at a PSP presentation given by IP director of Admissions and Student Affairs Jeff Hamilton (’03), himself a first-generation student. “College is already a huge step,” Davila says. “I always thought it would be nice to travel out of the country, but I never knew if it would be possible for me.” International study was also a new experience for her family, especially Davila’s mother, who was enthusiastic about her daughter’s opportunity to study abroad, but wary of the financial commitment. “My whole life I was brought up with the idea that college was the next step in my academic journey and completely attainable if only I worked for it,” she explains. “My
TEXAS WASHINGTON COLORADO ARIZONA & ILLINOIS OREGON & NEW JERSEY HAWAII & NEVADA
Some religious afﬁliation
mom said, ‘I know this is what you want to do, so we’ll figure out a way to do it.’” According to Hamilton, studying abroad is one of the most intimidating aspects of college for first-generation students. “There is this extra hurdle to clear with their families who are nervous about sending their sons or daughters to locations they’ve never been before,” he explains. He insists, however, that first-generation students shouldn’t feel scared or nervous to pursue international study. “All of these opportunities are available, and you may think you’re not ready for them or that they’re for somebody else, but the options are there for everyone. “When you see the first-generation students doing something or even signing up for
49 students 32 students 25 students 19 students 16 students 11 students
something they never would’ve considered, and suddenly see their eyes open up to the entire world around them; when you see them start to consider themselves in new ways and consider their capabilities in ways that they’d never even hoped for, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.” For Lauren Chong, the college experience transcends personal and extends to her entire community. “As much as this is my own journey, both personally and academically, I feel like I’m doing it for my family, as well,” she says. “After going through the Pepperdine Summer Preview, I feel like I now have a chance to find a really strong sense of self and be surrounded by people who will encourage me to get to where I hope to aspire.”
Two years later: listen to Pepperdine Summer Preview alumnus Michael Reid reflect on his experience as a first-generation student: magazine.pepperdine.edu/first-generation
S T R A I G H T from the DEANS
standing, left to right: Rick Marrs, Margaret Weber, James Wilburn
seated: Deanell Reece Tacha, Linda Livingstone
THE DEANS OF PEPPERDINE’S FIVE SCHOOLS share their thoughts on higher education, leadership, and the 2013–2014 academic year. What excites you about the upcoming year at your school? RICK MARRS, dean of Seaver College: Each year I get excited in general with the influx of new students. We continue to recruit students who are both outstanding academically and most interested in coming to an institution that celebrates and honors our Christian heritage. They are especially interested in having an opportunity to explore their faith. MARGARET WEBER, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology: A new year brings new students, new faculty, and the chance to share the dream of GSEP with each of them. The opportunity to work with our students is always exciting—they are the most amazing individuals and bring such a host of experiences to the classroom. Their passion for making a difference within their communities is really inspiring. LINDA LIVINGSTONE, dean of the Graziadio School of Business and Management: I am excited to see the growth and impact of new programs like our Online MBA and our concentration in Digital Innovation and Information Systems, and the continuing influence programs like Education to Business (E2B), SEER (Socially, Environmentally, Ethically Responsible Business Practice), the MS in Entrepreneurship, and the Private Capital Markets Certificate have on the lives of our students and the business community. In addition, I look forward to serving as vice chair/chair-elect of the board of AACSB, the leading international accrediting body for business schools, because of the opportunity it provides to impact quality management education worldwide, and to give visibility to the significant work going on in the Graziadio School.
JAMES WILBURN, dean of the School of Public Policy: I have recently spent three days out of town with our entering class and they are accomplished leaders who, I am convinced, can change the world! After beginning classes, they are even more enthusiastic than ever, which reminds me of what a great future they are preparing to lead. DEANELL REECE TACHA, dean of the School of Law: So many things! We have an outstanding entering class. Our unique Preceptor Program has successfully paired each first-year student with a practicing lawyer or judge mentor. We have added several extraordinary new faculty members. Among our blockbuster events this year are the School of Law annual dinner, featuring Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito; the William French Smith Lecture, delivered by Michael Chertoff, former secretary of Homeland Security; and the Straus Institute’s Women in Hollywood conference.
What challenges do you see for your school or your students in the upcoming year? LIVINGSTONE: The economy continues to create an interesting and challenging environment for business schools and our students. Changes in company reimbursement policies along with a continued slow economic recovery make decisions about returning to school, either part-time or full-time, much more complex than they have been in the past. This also impacts the market for internships and jobs for students, which is improving, but still challenging. TACHA: Applications to law schools nationwide have dropped precipitously the past two years. We are gratified that our entering class is so talented and robust,
and we will strive to maintain this pattern of excellence. Also, the legal profession is undergoing significant shifts, resulting in fewer employment opportunities. Thanks to our loyal alumni and friends and the hard work of our Career Development Office, our graduates are doing very well, but that will continue to require much attention. MARRS: The primary challenges will continue to be how we provide a truly transformative educational experience that is also affordable. We will continue to explore how we can effectively use technology to deliver enhanced learning experiences, and how we provide an educational experience for our students that benefits them not only immediately upon graduation, but creates lifelong learners passionate about helping change their communities for better. WEBER: As a market-driven school and with the climate of education in the U.S. today, we continue to be challenged by the marketplace for incoming students interested in becoming teachers. WILBURN: The challenges will be to make every opportunity for service and growth productive. We will have a crowded calendar of distinguished visiting professors and speakers, incredible internship opportunities, and a major national conference staged in the School of Public Policy that will test the energies of each student to make the most of the opportunities that surround them at Pepperdine.
What are your top priorities as dean or your top dreams for your school? TACHA: My top priority is to maximize the value of a legal education: maintain the high quality of our curriculum, adjust to changing demands, and inspire students
to be the outstanding lawyers of the future. I have so many dreams! I dream of refurbishing and reconfiguring the law school building; continuing to build resources to defray the significant cost of legal education; funding public-interest fellowships and expanding experiential opportunities for our students; and more.
years (according to the New York Times), and it will be a challenge to put our best foot forward for what may be one of the most important events in our history as a school. My priority is to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feature the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.
MARRS: My top priority for this year involves the discussion we’re having about whether we might increase the size of the Seaver student body over the next several years. This has been labeled, “Growing Seaver.” We know that we have quite a lot of interest externally in our undergraduate programs, and so we’re hoping to explore fully what expanding the Seaver student body might look like. We’ve already done quite a bit of work on this topic, but have much more that will need to be discussed.
LIVINGSTONE: A key priority for us is to ensure that we are providing students an exceptional, innovative, and personal learning experience that will meet their educational and career needs while transforming them personally and professionally. It is also critical that we continue to develop an environment for our faculty and staff that provides them with the resources and support to deliver this type of experience for our students and to develop quality scholarship that shapes business practice.
WILBURN: We will have the nation’s top leaders from schools of public policy on our campus for the national conference on the legacy of James Q. Wilson, the leading social scientist of the nation for the past 50
WEBER: Continued emphasis on excellence in our programs where students are challenged academically and find a sense of purpose for leading through
service. Continued review of our programs for excellence and relevance that prepare students for the coming decade.
How has your thinking about higher education changed since your deanship began? WILBURN: Higher education is going through one of the most revolutionary transitions in my 50 years in higher education. Which schools remain relevant, strong, and vibrant during this transition will depend on courageous choices and extraordinary vision. More than ever, I am convinced that Pepperdine has a historic opportunity to lead in this chaotic and challenging environment. LIVINGSTONE: The landscape for higher education has changed dramatically since I came to Pepperdine as dean of the Graziadio School in 2002. Rapidly changing technology, increasing student debt, rising global competition, growth of for-profit providers, and increasing
government scrutiny are just a few of the significant factors putting tremendous pressure on traditional institutions of higher education. All of this has reinforced for me the importance of innovation and the need to be nimble in a rapidly changing environment while ensuring that we remain true to our mission and the core values that have been critical to our success. WEBER: The classroom environment is a community where learning is reciprocal and when you create communities of practice that are collegial and respectful, learning is about the whole person and has a greater impact. Also, much greater emphasis on assessment from the federal and state governments, along with the accreditors adds an important element to the way we think about delivery for impact on students. This concept weighs into everything we do. TACHA: My thinking about higher education has not changed much since I became dean. I knew that I would face significant challenges in admissions, resources, and cultural change. Having been around higher education nearly all my career, I have watched great institutions of higher education play a critical role in reminding society that education is the necessary prerequisite to a flourishing economy, a functioning government, robust civic life, and indeed, civilized society itself. MARRS: One of the main areas for me has been how much more integrated the cocurricular experience has become with the curricular experience. Years ago the two areas were considered distinct and did not have much conversation with each other. Today we work hard to integrate the
two areas, since we know that as much, if not more, learning occurs outside the classroom. We have faculty and student affairs staff working closely with each other to provide a holistic educational experience for our students. A second key area involves the continued move from passive learning to more interactive pedagogical models. In higher education we talk about “high-impact practices” (HIP). These are educational practices that have clearly demonstrated an ability to provide a richer learning experience. Although we practice all the HIP pedagogies, four of the key practices we especially highlight at Seaver are: undergraduate research, international programs, service learning, and internships.
What is unique or special about leading at Pepperdine? WEBER: With our Christian mission, the opportunity to educate not just the mind, but also the heart and the hands, offers us a wonderful mission for interacting with our students, our staff, our faculty, our alumni, and our friends. Our approach to the learning environment is a caring, constructive, and nurturing place for all peoples: people of differing color, gender differences, age differences, and faith perspectives to name a few. WILBURN: My experience as provost, vice president, and as dean of two of Pepperdine’s five colleges, is that there is no other university that is as open to innovation and bold new initiatives as Pepperdine has been, and it explains why
I have consistently resisted invitations to join other universities through the years. Most encouraging, I believe that Pepperdine has not lost that edge. TACHA: Leading at Pepperdine is a privilege and a position of important stewardship. I feel a deep responsibility to maintain the vision of George Pepperdine in preserving and enhancing a Christian university with a national reputation for excellence. This task requires constant attention to maintaining the Christian mission, while at the same time adapting appropriately to the rapidly changing world of knowledge and inquiry that will propel us into an informed faith-based future. MARRS: For me, the unique challenge involves continually ensuring that the academic standards at Seaver are top-tier while maintaining a vibrant commitment to the Christian faith. While huge sectors of the academy consider those two endeavors mutually exclusive, if not impossible to achieve, I’m convinced keeping the two in meaningful dialogue provides a truly transformative educational experience. LIVINGSTONE: Leading at Pepperdine is a joy because of the people that I have the opportunity to work with—whether that is the faculty and staff of the Graziadio School, my fellow deans, or University administrators. They are all deeply committed to our Christian mission and to transforming the lives of our students— making even the challenging times well worth the effort because the work we do at Pepperdine has eternal significance.
LAUNCH STARS Five Graziadio School alumni are turning their passions into professions. By Gareen Darakjian
Travis Brewer (MBA ’11) photo: P. J. Russ
Finding the balance between risk and reward is an entrepreneur’s ultimate pursuit when taking an idea from concept to product. Harnessing their spirit for enterprise with a desire to provide solutions, many students and graduates of the Graziadio School of Business and Management have mastered that struggle and are now at the helm of their respective entrepreneurial ventures. Meet ﬁve innovative leaders who are on their personal journeys to business ownership.
competitions and was featured in television specials and magazines focused on the ﬁtness movement.
If Travis Brewer (MBA ’11) could be anywhere in the world at any given moment, it would be at the beach. So when his parents asked him what he wanted to do moments after he graduated from the Graziadio School, he directed them to a spot on the sand in Santa Monica, Calif., where the new MBA regularly practiced his calisthenics workouts—a longtime passion.
Brewer soon caught the attention of NBC staffers scouting talent for American Ninja Warrior, a competition show touted as “the ultimate obstacle course.” He went far on the show and developed a following on social media, prompting him to think about how to apply his physical skills and talent in a way that expressed his two loves: ﬁtness and philanthropy.
That fateful day, he met a calisthenics training group, Raw Movement, who were performing acrobatic-type stunts on the beach using only chin-up bars and their own body weight. “I can do some of those moves!” thought Brewer, who was a nationally ranked gymnast in his youth. After impressing the audience of seasoned pros with his strength and agility, Brewer began participating in calisthenics
“I thought the best way to do that was to start a business around my lifestyle,” explains Brewer, who began developing an activewear and gear line that impacted the nonproﬁt space. “I saw brands like lululemon, Under Armour, and Nike in the marketplace, but none of these brands were making a difference in the world,” he says. “How come there isn’t an activewear brand that gives back?”
her MBA. While in her ﬁrst semester at the Graziadio School, she was looking for freelance opportunities that utilized the event-planning skills she had spent almost a lifetime honing.
TAMMY BILLINGS Last November, after being laid off from her job as vice president of marketing for a company that produces shows like Deadliest Catch and Storage Wars, Tammy Billings had had enough. It was her fourth layoff in six years, so she set out to earn
As student body president and class president of her high school, Billings would plan all school events and, after
Inspired by the philanthropic missions of companies like Patagonia and TOMS shoes, Brewer developed an ecofriendly activewear brand—aptly titled Pi Lifestyle—that donates 3.14 percent of each sale to a food, water, or shelter charity of their choosing. The next evolution of Pi Lifestyle, explains Brewer, is a complete clothing line called Positive Impact, which also promotes a social component. “We want to build an online community of people who are making a difference and can come together in real life to impact society,” he says. “For me, the only thing that gets me excited is trying to make the world a better place. True success is having the ability to run a proﬁtable company while making a difference. It’s ingrained in my personal value system.”
graduating from California State University, Los Angeles in 2007, she secured a job in marketing at LA LIVE, the event epicenter of Los Angeles. After her most recent career roadblock, Billings thought back to the successful events she had produced over the last 15 years for clients with complementary needs. “I recalled putting together an event outside of Coachella using sponsorship money,” she says. “And here I was with a client that had sponsorship money and was looking for events to sponsor. They needed a way to connect.” Billings began aggressively researching to learn more about event sponsorships and saw a gap. “I saw a place where brands and events can connect for product donations and cash sponsorships, but I had yet to ﬁnd a place where these two entities can be matched by their demographic and psychographic marketing data to meet their respective needs.”
THE SPIRIT SALESMAN
The Event Marketspace brings together two things close to Billings’ heart: brands and events. “As brands get more contentoriented and television advertising ceases to be effective, I predict we will see far more integrations, product sampling, and live events,” she explains. “These are the only effective ways left for people to interact with a brand before making a purchase decision.” While searching for seed money to build a functional website with a strong back-end database, Billings built the Event Marketspace website using the tools provided by a basic webhosting company and a Google database. When the site is ﬁnished, it will function similar to a dating site or a job board—two entities searching for match. “I’m ﬁnally starting to see that I may have been born to be an entrepreneur and probably should have made this choice years ago,” says Billings. “How can I not do this is the real question.”
ERIK PAXMAN If you’ve attended a major collegiate sporting event in the last two years, you may have bumped into Erik Paxman (MBA ’07), the enthusiastic sports fan/MBA with the curiously decorated ﬁngernails. “I’ve gotten quite a few funny looks, but they’ve deﬁnitely been conversation starters,” admits Paxman, the founder of University Nail Pax Designs, a line of custom designed nail wraps for collegiate fans. “It’s a way to keep a connection to the important places in your life, college being a large portion of a lot of people’s lives,” he says. “Why not help people access the passion they
THE FIGHTER TURI ALTAVILLA Turi Altavilla (MBA ’13) has been in the ﬁght industry since the early 2000s, when the new UCLA graduate joined King of the Cage, now one of the largest ﬁght-promotion companies in the country. Back then it was a budding organization, where Altavilla admits to starting from the bottom of the mixed martial arts (MMA) totem pole, from doing manual labor to picking up ﬁghters from the airport. “I eventually wanted to be the guy who could not only run an MMA event, but also run a company,” he says. “So the seeds were planted for me to get my MBA.” Shortly before starting classes at the Graziadio School, Altavilla established the “college football” to the UFC’s (Ultimate Fighting Championship) NFL: the University of Mixed Martial Arts (U of MMA), harnessing the experience he gleaned from his time helping Tokyo-based PRIDE Fighting, the world’s largest ﬁght-promotion company at the time, expand into the U.S. market.
photo: Stephanie Drews
“MMA is not as mature as other sports yet, so it doesn’t have the same infrastructure, including a strong amateur system,” admits Altavilla. “Not only was there a need for an organization like the U of MMA in the ﬁght
community, but it ﬁt my personality perfectly. I love mentoring young ﬁghters and being an effective part of their development.” At the U of MMA, Altavilla and his staff apply their tremendous amount of experience to helping young, talented ﬁghters succeed and become champions. “We tell them what it takes to be a professional outside of the cage, from marketing to making weight, as well as offering advice, opening doors, and providing a platform for them to pursue their dreams.” By the time Altavilla hit his entrepreneurship classes at Pepperdine, he had already started the U of MMA and encountered some of the hardships his courses could have helped him avoid. “My experience at Pepperdine helped me think bigger,” he says. “It helped me step back and look at a bigger picture rather than always focusing on the here and now. There were some things I did right, but some things I did wrong and those classes would have helped.” Now, Altavilla hopes to see the U of MMA become established as an institution within the ﬁght world. “Fifty years from now, I want this company to be guiding amateur MMA ﬁghters properly as they pursue their ﬁght dream.”
feel for their favorite school, whether they attended or not?” The idea came to Paxman while talking to a former Graziadio School classmate, Daniel Roescheisen (MBA ’07), about his own fashionable nail wrap line. Paxman was working in ﬁnancial services at the time, but, harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit that drove him to business school in the ﬁrst place, saw the opportunity in an untapped venture. When his company folded in 2011, Paxman took his colleague’s advice and the market research he had done over the course of two years and began to think seriously about a future in nail wraps.
The most encouraging, yet daunting discovery was that there wasn’t a similar product on the market. Paxman saw the opportunity and worked with licensing companies to partner with 24 schools initially, just by presenting the idea and business plan. “That’s when the Pepperdine experience came in,” he says. “I was surprised by how much I remembered from my classwork about product diagrams and business plans.”
company to produce the University Nail Pax line locally.
Today, University Nail Pax Designs is licensed to produce nail wraps for 52 universities with hopes to evolve into professional leagues. The company also recently signed a contract with a U.S.
He says, “In addition to what I learned at Pepperdine, my experience gave me the foundation and conﬁdence to ﬁnally go after the dream of starting and running my own business.”
Peace Corps Headquarters. His training materials continue to be used by volunteers over seven years later, and have indirectly beneﬁted thousands of Romanians.
DAVID LEDERMAN As a Peace Corps volunteer in Romania from 2003 to 2005, David Lederman (MBA ’10) realized that every volunteer encountered similar hardships throughout their service. “From culture shock and adjusting to what Peace Corps calls the ‘cycle of vulnerability,’” Lederman identiﬁed those challenges that were unique to this volunteer population. To address this, he coauthored two volunteer e-training manuals utilized by over 1,500 volunteers and designed webbased interactive training applications that received “Best Practice” recognition by
“Our goal is to make it so that experts can effectively transfer their expertise in an interactive and engaging way that maximizes the experience for clients, patients, or students,” he explains.
Today, the user-experience expert answers that question with ExpertEase, a web platform he codeveloped with partner Robert Griese that helps experts sell their most valuable intellectual property—their expertise—through virtual programs, workshops, or courses.
Lederman discovered a pressing need for this type of service after witnessing his brother’s frustration with mainstream medicine. An internal medicine physician, his brother decided to open his own clinic that treated chronic health issues through nutrition and wellness programs. When returning to face-to-face sessions on a recurring basis became difﬁcult or too expensive for many patients, Lederman thought, “There must be a way to allow experts to share that expertise quickly and easily in a way that seamlessly integrates with and grows their business?” Now, people like Lederman’s brother can do all of this through ExpertEase.
Lederman says, “Experts should be able to focus on what they know best: their expertise and client relationships.” The platform handles everything else, including hosting, scalability, and billing. Experts beneﬁt from their own customizable website, which they can brand with their existing marketing materials, and create virtual programs or workshops.
“It’s very exciting to see experts of all kinds—wellness professionals, teachers, consultants, or trainers, like my brother— be able to use a tool like this and suddenly feel like the shackles of tech hurdles and barriers have been removed,” says Lederman. “They can focus on establishing or expanding their business. The web, if used effectively, is a tremendous tool.”
The experience made Lederman contemplate, “What other ways could technology be used to empower people to solve problems on a larger scale?”
Paxman is proud to name his former Pepperdine colleagues as his greatest mentors and supporters—friends in ﬁnance who helped with ﬁnancial modeling, colleagues on the retail side who aided with establishing contacts in the industry, and those on hand for advice, support, and invaluable recommendations along the way.
Thank you to all of our founding families for making the first summer of Pepperdine Family Camp a complete success! One of the best experiences of my life! The staff warmed my heart from the moment we arrived.” —Rene “We thought it was the perfect vacation, and one of the best family vacations we have had in years.” —Matthew “The best part was that when we were away from the kids, we could tell they were in great hands, were having a great time, and really being positively influenced by the counselors.” —Melissa “It was EXCELLENT!” —Beverley
GIVE THE GIFT OF FAMILY CAMP
From great conversations to trying new activities, we were blessed with 34 families that made this summer unforgettable and fun. We can’t wait to see your smiling faces next summer!
Summer 2014 will be here before you know it and now is the time to register for Pepperdine Family Camp! Make your reservation before January 31 and your family will save 10 percent. For more information visit: pepperdine.edu/familycamp Dates ORANGE SESSION: Wednesday, July 30–Sunday, August 3, 2014 BLUE SESSION: Wednesday, August 6–Sunday, August 10, 2014
“I was so impressed with the first year that I am already planning to attend next year.” —Harmony “Family Camp is a great way to get to know more about Pepperdine, while spending quality time with family and meeting new friends.” —Donna
WAVES OF APPRECIATION THE SAN DIEGO WAVES OF APPRECIATION PROJECT has begun its third and most ambitious year! Waves of Appreciation is a Pepperdine alumni-led project that hands out snack bags to active-duty military personnel flying home over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season in partnership with USO San Diego. Following the huge success of last year’s event, Waves of Appreciation has a goal to fill and distribute 2,500 bags this year. Each bag is filled with treats that appeal to young servicemembers, such as candy bars, beef jerky, and potato chips, as well as thank-you notes from local schoolchildren. The goal is to provide servicemembers with snacks while traveling for the holidays since young military personnel often do not have extra money for food during their journeys home. Last year’s events saw large numbers of volunteers from the Pepperdine community donating time, money, and energy. Learn about this year’s project: pepperdine.edu/alumni/waves-of-appreciation
Upcoming Alumni Events: Alumni, parents, students, and friends are invited to join the Pepperdine Community at local events near you! January 25: COASTAL 5K/10K Walk/Run, Los Angeles, California February 1: Alumni Night, men’s basketball vs. Loyola, Malibu, California February 3–7: Career Week, various locations February 5: SoCal Social, Los Angeles, California February 15: Rose City Reception, Portland, Oregon Visit us online at pepperdine.edu/alumni for more information or e-mail us at email@example.com.
firstname.lastname@example.org • pepperdine.edu/alumni
The human voice is the organ of the soul. —HENRYY WADSWORTH WADSSWORTH LO LONGFELLOW ONGFELLOW
INCREDIBLE DR. JENNIFER BERGERON blends her passions as a singer and laryngological surgeon. By Audra Quinn
Somewhere above your trachea and below your epiglottis lies a beautiful instrument that you probably play every day: your vocal cords. “The correct term is actually vocal folds,” notes Dr. Jennifer Bergeron (’04), while taking a break from her rounds at Stanford University Hospital. She is currently there completing a yearlong fellowship in laryngology, the branch of medicine that specializes in the voice and larynx. “Your vocal folds look like a glistening white V,” she explains. “It’s a dynamic organ system and it’s really fascinating … it covers physics, physiology, and neurobiology.” Vocal health is personal to Bergeron, who grew up singing in school and church in Houston, Texas. “I was always singing. My mom is a singer, and my family is very musical. In Texas, we’re lucky … music education is very strong.”
While music is her passion, Bergeron was determined to follow the career path of her father, a physician. “My voice teacher and choir director encouraged me that I could still go into medicine if I majored in music, and maybe even get a music scholarship.” Unfortunately, Bergeron went through many successful auditions only to find that this was not a “pleasing arrangement” to most schools’ music department faculty. It wasn’t until she visited Pepperdine that she found the support she needed to pursue both. “The fact that they were willing to work with me and let me do what I wanted for my
broken shoulder and a broken spirit. “It was very hard, but I was lucky because I had such a great support network in Mr. and Mrs. Pullen, Dr. Emilio, and the whole choir and music ministry.” Bergeron immersed herself in school, church, and choir, and at the end of four years, she had not only fulfilled her music degree and all of her premed requirements, she still managed to maintain a 4.0 average and was named valedictorian. “The title wasn’t so important,” she says, “I just wanted to do well and be able to get into medical school.”
life, not just my four years there, was what really sold it for me.” While at Pepperdine, Bergeron sang in the choir under Milton Pullen, whom she calls a “second parent.” “Choir practice was so much fun with him and I learned so much about musicianship.” She also participated in the Our Lady of Malibu choir and performed in the Pepperdine operas, including a lead role as Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief in her senior year. Her voice teacher, Melanie Emilio, also further developed Bergeron’s understanding of vocal health. “As a singer, it’s not like you can just put your violin away and go out and do whatever you want. Your body is your instrument, so you have to take care of it.” Her time at Pepperdine was not without its challenges, however. During her sophomore year, she and her best friend, Amy Ecker, suffered a tragic car accident. “The car rolled six times and Amy passed away in the accident,” recalls Bergeron, who walked away with a
At first I was interested in laryngology for the singing aspect, but now the more rewarding aspect is taking someone who couldn’t speak and giving them a voice back. Bergeron returned to Houston to attend Baylor College of Medicine, where she began to see vocal health as the perfect marriage of her musical and medical aspirations. She graduated with highest honors and chose a residency program in otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, which is known for its training in laryngology.
“I think I came out as a really great surgeon from that program. You work hard and it pays off,” she says. At Stanford, Bergeron treats patients for everything from a hoarse voice to head and neck cancer, while overseeing residents and serving as clinical instructor, teaching medical students about laryngology and laryngeal pathology. “Spending time and teaching the junior residents is really great because your knowledge base has to be really solid,” Bergeron says. Now 13 years since her preparation began at Pepperdine, Bergeron says her passion for the field has transcended music. “At first I was interested in laryngology for the singing aspect, but now the more rewarding aspect is taking someone who couldn’t speak and giving them a voice back,” she says. “You definitely learn to appreciate little things, like being able to talk, being able to taste food, being able to swallow.”
Bergeron is looking forward to finding a full-time position and spending more time with her husband Greg once the fellowship is complete. Despite the endless training and the incredible volume of vocal folds she’s examined, she says she feels blessed to have found her calling. “In a lot of careers you don’t get that emotional fulfillment and the financial fulfillment; I have both and I can still keep my foot in the door with music. It’s the American dream.”
A Bit of History Repeating Two scholars and a student explore why looking back helps move public policy forward. By Gareen Darakjian
In 1933, in the midst of the nation’s most debilitating economic crisis in history, then newly elected president Franklin Delano Roosevelt enacted a series of domestic economic programs that aimed to pull the American people out of the Great Depression. For the next three years Roosevelt’s “New Deal” focused on relief, recovery, and reform— the “3 Rs” that established the framework for today’s U.S. domestic policy and the ongoing debate between progressives and conservatives. 32
In their new book, The New Deal & Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry, authors Gordon Lloyd, professor of public policy at the School of Public Policy, and David Davenport, counselor to the director, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and former president of Pepperdine University, revisit the debates between Roosevelt and fellow presidential nominee Herbert Hoover prior to the election and those disputes ignited by the New Deal in 1933. In a conversation moderated by School of Public Policy student Alexander Klemp, the scholars delve deeper into the legacy of the New Deal and consider how the issues of the era remain current in public policy today. KLEMP: The book presents a perspective of the New Deal that has not been presented in the past—that issues surrounding the era still exist. Why in your opinion has this perspective been overlooked in history?
LLOYD: A very low-ground, practical answer is that history is written by the winners. Look at the way that Hoover has been demonized. He was a hero, one of the whiz kids of the 1920s, and did an incredible amount of philanthropic work. Because of this one event, he gets dismissed, and along with the dismissal of the person goes the dismissal of the argument. And so, that’s one answer: that people—intellectuals in particular— have accepted the New Deal as a march forward in civilization and progress. And to somehow return to the self-interest of Hoover in American individualism is to return America to a world which fortunately has gone. KLEMP: The book draws many parallels between the campaign rhetoric of the Roosevelt-Hoover debates and that of the liberals and conservatives in 2012. Can you discuss these parallels? DAVENPORT: The parallels are very strong, indeed. I think what Roosevelt was arguing for was very much what Obama had argued for in 2012. I think he was concerned that the question
In many ways the 2012 [presidential] debate was an extension of the New Deal and of Roosevelt’s arguments in the ’30s. —David Davenport was no longer liberty in America, but how government would guide policy to take care of people. For Roosevelt, it meant a lot of government planning, it meant bigger government, it meant more government control; it meant more programs to help people via social security, very much like the Obama narrative of adding health care to the agenda of ways that government protects and takes care of people. Both Roosevelt and Obama argued that it was the role of government to promote income equality. Both Obama and Roosevelt were advocating for income equality and higher taxation on the rich, so in many ways the 2012 debate was an extension, if you will, of the New Deal and of Roosevelt’s arguments in the ’30s. KLEMP: There are some people in the media who say that, because the national media is so overbearing and so powerful, national candidates don’t have a chance and that conservatives have been successively losing elections in the national front. What is the power of the media during election time?
LLOYD: I think there are all kinds of fallback positions, that there’s some evil force at work that robbed conservatives of the election, whether it’s the liberals blaming Wall Street and the big bankers and big rollers of campaign, to the conservatives blaming the big media. But, I think media does matter. FDR won, in part, because he took the debate away from Hoover, because he was much better at the use of the radio. Obama has a way, which I think is much more young-friendly than Romney’s. I think the media matters not because it’s left-wing-dominated, but because media matters in a commercial society. Certainly, I think Reagan had an ability with media that the other folks did not. I’m not going to pay as much attention to who owns the media. Yes, the media is powerful, but I don’t think that’s where the problem is.
KLEMP: The book suggests that modern-day politicians must take historical cues from the New Deal era to be a viable part of the current national conversation. Can you discuss how and why you believe this to be true? DAVENPORT What we were trying to point out in the book is that, in fact, there has now been sort of an 80-yearlong paradigm for American domestic, economic, and tax policy. That is the New Deal on one side and modern American conservatism on the other. This, I think, is not widely recognized: that we still basically live in the New Deal and that conservatives are still responding to modern-day expansions of the New Deal. That’s point one: just to recognize the phase that we’re in. And to go back and recover the arguments at the creation of this paradigm, when Roosevelt obviously was developing the New Deal and Hoover was giving the first shocked conservative response, that’s a really fundamental time in any sort of development: to go back and see how those arguments went. We do think that even conservatives today have gotten caught up in big government in some ways. They, themselves, have succumbed to big government and have lost some of the liberty argument and some of the federalism and constitutional argument of those early days. Our point is that individual liberty should still resonate with the American people. It has become a bit of an abstraction, but conservatives need to make it real again. We think going back, historically, to come back to today’s policy makes a lot of sense and I think those are the key points we were trying to make with this book.
Read and listen to the full interview: magazine.pepperdine.edu/new-deal
Judge Jurist IN A MILESTONE YEAR, two Pepperdine School of Law alumnae were appointed to the federal court in their individual districts. Both Jennifer Dorsey (JD ’97), who now presides over the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, and Beverly O’Connell (JD ’90), U.S. district judge for the Central District of California, were highly recommended by two of the most prominent figures in politics—President Barack Obama and Senator Barbara Boxer, respectively. “We are so proud of their distinguished careers and accomplishments,” says School of Law dean Deanell Reece Tacha, of the appointees. “Both of these judges are models of the highest ideals of this law school and of the legal profession. They will be dedicated public servants and bring continuing credit to the School of Law at Pepperdine.” Here, Dorsey and O’Connell share how they live out the lessons they learned on their way to the federal bench.
J EN N I FER D O R S E Y Q: What were your first thoughts when you learned President Obama nominated you to serve as a U.S. district judge? A: I felt profoundly honored and humbled that the president of the United States had placed such confidence in my character and legal ability. And I was hoping that I may finally get to live out a Pepperdine law-nerd dream of mine—sitting on the final-round bench of Pepperdine’s Vincent S. Dalsimer Moot Court Competition. Spoiler alert: I did. Q: What would you tell a current law student hoping to break into the federal realm? A: Extern for a federal judge during law school, and then seek a position as a judicial law clerk for the first year or two years after graduation. Those experiences will provide insight into the judicial process and help develop skills and knowledge that will be valuable to future legal employers. Q: Though you are about to embark on a new career path, what do you think your next steps will be beyond this point?
Jennifer Dorsey Jennifer Popick Dorsey began her legal career with Kemp, Jones & Coulthard LLP in 1997, securing the role of partner in 2004. Her work focuses on a wide variety of matters including appeals, class actions, and complex commercial litigation. Dorsey has been a coauthor of the Nevada section of the treatise Survey of State Class Action Law since 1999, and is a member of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Foundation’s advisory board. She has remained involved with her alma mater as a member of the Pepperdine Law Board of Visitors, and has hosted several Pepperdine Law alumni events in her home state of Nevada.
MEET TWO SCHOOL OF LAW ALUMNAE WHO HAVE ASCENDED TO THE TOP OF THEIR DISTRICTS. By Gareen Darakjian
A: As this is a lifetime appointment, I expect that my next steps will be part of this same journey, not headed toward a new destination. I also intend to remain close to my Pepperdine family, which has been immensely supportive during this nomination and confirmation process just as it was throughout my law school experience.
B E V ER LY O ’CO N N ELL Q: What are your goals as a judge with the U.S. District Court? A: One of my goals as a federal judge is to continue to dispense justice fairly and expeditiously on a daily basis. I want to create a courtroom where all litigants are treated with respect and leave feeling that they have received the highest consideration, regardless of whether they win or lose the dispute. Another one of my goals is to proudly represent Pepperdine as its first federal judge. Q: What lessons from your years as a law student have you carried with you throughout your career? A: Throughout my time at Pepperdine, I learned that preparation is the bedrock to a successful legal career. There are no shortcuts in litigation, and hard work pays off. I also learned that one’s reputation is of paramount importance, earned by practicing with integrity and civility.
Q: You have kept close ties with Pepperdine, serving as an adjunct professor and regularly participating in events hosted by the School of Law. What has kept you so closely bonded with the University?
Beverly O’Connell’s legal career began in civil litigation in 1990, as an associate with Morrison & Foerster. In 1995, she became the assistant United States attorney for the Central District of California before an appointment to her most recent role as a Superior Court judge for Los Angeles County, a position she’s held since 2005.
A: Pepperdine gave me the gift of an education. Pepperdine exhibited its faith in my skills by awarding me a scholarship. This generous gift made the decision to enter public service much easier. Unlike many of my colleagues, I did not spend years paying off student loans. I am very grateful for the opportunity Pepperdine gave me, and, as a result, I am loyal to the School of Law and want to participate in its events. I was mentored by many of the fine professors at Pepperdine and seek to give back to Pepperdine by mentoring law students.
From 2010 to 2011, O’Connell sat by designation on the California Court of Appeals for the Second District, Division 8. She has also served as assistant supervising judge of the North Valley District of the Superior Court. O’Connell has remained active in the School of Law community, serving as an adjunct faculty member since 1998.
Read the full interview: magazine.pepperdine.edu/judge-and-jurist
GSEP student Rev. Romney Ruder works on the mission field in his own backyard.
By Emily DiFrisco
Each day Rev. Romney Ruder takes a four-block walk through South Los Angeles from his home to his office. On the walk he encounters graffiti, garbage, the open drug trade, and a staggering number of destitute and homeless people. “Most people would think it was a third world country,” says Ruder of the neighborhood he, his wife, and two sons call home. 36
Ruder chooses to live in South Los Angeles as part of his mission work with World Impact, where he serves as chief operating officer. In order to empower the urban poor, the organization starts with missionaries on the ground. “If we’re going to have an effect on the community, we have to be a part of the community,” he explains. “That means being among the people we are serving. It’s living on the same streets.” By living in the community, the Ruders see what everyday life is like in South Los Angeles. They have learned that it’s not uncommon for the neighborhood to go three days without mail service. Sometimes police helicopters circle above for hours. On one occasion, 10 plainclothes police officers ran down the street with assault rifles while Ruder’s sons played in the backyard.
These experiences have helped the Ruders learn about the major obstacles many of their neighbors face every day. “We know that there is that brokenness in the more wealthy communities, but it gets hidden,” describes Ruder. “In our neighborhood, the level of brokenness is such that you can’t hide it. You can hear the yelling. You can hear the slaps. We know when the kids aren’t getting three meals a day. There’s complete honesty, and there’s more opportunity to engage and say, ‘Let’s talk about this.’” Ruder took his post with World Impact four years ago after more than 20 years in the business world. About 12 years ago, he reached a point in his career where a few small banks invited him to join their board of directors. After speaking with his wife Amy, they decided that instead of earning more money he would invest his time in something “kingdom-related.”
“In our faith walk, the Lord had continued to add more and more ministry,” Ruder explains of his career transition. By the time World Impact recruited him, he felt called to be a missionary full-time. His current post is unique in that while he serves as a missionary in his neighborhood, he also is COO for the organization, spending time strategizing how to establish leadership in the communities they serve and partnering with like-minded organizations. To further those efforts, he enrolled in the organizational leadership program at the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology, where he is a doctoral student. Describing the program as a strong fit for him, Ruder enjoys “getting to the core of where a lot of us organizations struggle.” The main challenge at World Impact is how to serve the urban poor while creating self-sustaining ministries. Working with missionaries and indigenous leadership, they start Bible studies that manifest into home churches and then into full-fledged churches and then church plants. At the same time, the organization provides holistic ministry to the communities through mobile medical clinics, dental clinics, thrift stores, job training, and schools. In cities throughout the U.S., the urban poor face issues such as high crime, failing schools, and lack of basic medical care. “When people think of a missionary they think about going overseas, but we have such an opportunity to minister in our own cities,” Ruder begins. He points to Chester, Pennsylvania, where the amount of murders per capita outpaces
other cities in the world. He cites the Imperial Courts area in South Los Angeles, the largest housing district in the world, which has no hospital to serve the area. World Impact’s medical clinic saw more than 1,500 patients there last year. At their location in North St. Louis, Missouri, 30 percent of the housing sits empty and dilapidated. “It looks like a war zone,” Ruder says of the houses that have been picked clean of all metal, bricks, and anything of value. The poverty in the area is exacerbated by the fact that the local school system is unaccredited. More than 50 percent of students drop out, and those that do graduate can’t go to college because they have no transcript a college would accept. “When I walk into North St. Louis or Chester, people think one of three things: I’m either a cop, I’m there to buy drugs, or I’m there to spread the word of Christ,” Ruder says of the urban areas that are often ignored by the wealthier neighbors just miles away. “Sometimes the people we forget about are those in our own backyard.” As he continues to serve the urban poor at home in Los Angeles, Ruder envisions a future for World Impact that relies even more greatly on indigenous leaders. “It’s not about us starting a church and leading a church,” he reflects. “It’s about working with people who have heard the call of Christ who need to be equipped, so they can raise up and be leaders in their community.”
If we’re going to have an effect on the community, we have to be a part of the community. That means being among the people we are serving. It’s living on the same streets. —Romney Ruder
The WAVES OF SERVICE movement celebrates, supports, and connects Pepperdine alumni committed to volunteerism and careers of service worldwide. Learn more about how you can get involved at
“I went to visit a Methodist minister who lived down the street to ask him whether faith made any logical sense. He listened patiently to my confused (and probably blasphemous) ramblings, and then took a small book off his shelf and suggested I read it. That book was Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. In the next few days, as I turned its pages, struggling to absorb the breadth and depth of the intellectual arguments laid down by this legendary Oxford scholar, I realized that all of my own constructs against the plausibility of faith were those of a schoolboy …” The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
Francis Collins Director of the National Institutes of Health, Former Leader of the Human Genome Project
In a word, C. S. Lewis turned my whole theology on its head. In The Great Divorce, he intimates that the gates of heaven might actually be locked on the hell side, and not the other way around. That completely changed my view of God. All my life I thought that the greatest obstacle to heaven was God himself, as if God were trying to keep us out. Lewis helped me see how desperately God wants us in. Lewis also helped me understand how God draws us to himself—through our longing for joy. He spoke of the nostalgic yearning we all feel, as he put it, for a far-off country that we have never yet visited. In Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer, he said that the pleasures we experience are glimpses of what we long for—they are “patches of Godlight in the woods of our experience.” Those words raised the tantalizing possibility that my deepest longings might actually be the clue to the purpose for which I was made, and also a foretaste of what awaits me. As he put it in The Weight of Glory, “At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door … But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.”
Lewis is a storytelling apologist for a storytelling God, and his books opened up my theological imagination. My introduction was Mere Christianity, soon after my baptism and freshman year at Pepperdine. Lewis’ explanation of the shared hallway of Christian truths, with offshooting rooms for denominations where individuals would be nourished, embedded a desire for ecumenical fellowship and an appreciation of the richness of Christian thought. I next devoured The Screwtape Letters, and Lewis’ depiction of human nature convicted me of my sins. I’ll never forget the toast where Screwtape rants about how tasteless the people in hell are; there is no one truly evil, but there is a steady march of those adhering to a moralistic therapeutic deism. The Great Divorce gave me reassurance that while hell was real, God’s love was so great, anyone who truly sought him would be welcomed into his fold. One of the last works I read was where most people begin, the Chronicles of Narnia series. Having always struggled with the question of pain, I wept and wept in The Horse and His Boy when Aslan reveals to Shasta that all of his perceived misfortunes are part of God’s divine providence and protection.
Christina Littlefield (’02)
Professor of Communication, Seaver College, and Director, Pepperdine University Center for Faith and Learning
Assistant Professor of Communication and Religion, Seaver College
FIFTY YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH, PEPPERDINE FACULTY REFLECT ON THE AUTHOR’S INFLUENCE ON THEIR SCHOLARSHIP AND FAITH.
The influence of C. S. Lewis on my life is akin to that of a box full of treasures that is kept hidden in a special place, opened from time to time, and its half-forgotten contents both reminding and exhorting to living life more profoundly. I suppose this Lewis box is the opposite of Pandora’s Box, in that when I opened the box containing the books, I discovered a richness of thought, a challenge to rightful living, and a personal comfort of a present and caring God. I first learned of C. S. Lewis when I read the Chronicles of Narnia as a child. I was enchanted by a world of talking animals, a rich variety of cultures, the adventures of the Pevensie children, and seeing the whole arc of a planet’s creation, fall, redemption, and destruction. And, of course, there is Aslan, a figure I did not completely understand but I felt the acceptance and love he offered. Later, as I was older, I read his more theologically oriented books and sophisticated stories such as the Perelandra trilogy. Revisiting these books from time to time, breathing in the magic and logic of Lewis’ stories and arguments, influenced me in becoming a Christian and an academic.
My first encounter with C. S. Lewis occurred in Florence, Italy, while studying abroad with Pepperdine. That year, for really the first time, I was being exposed daily to an all-you-can eat buffet of both new and ancient schools of thought and was overwhelmed with the range of different beliefs in the world around me. I started to question: “What if Christianity is just a religion prevalent in Europe and America during our time, and later when generations are looking back they will view it the with the same nostalgic interest as we do the myths of the Greeks or the fables of Aesop?” It was a scary thought really, and I started to crave wise and honest-minded discussions about religion and belief—discussions that brought everything to the table with openness and vulnerability. The best conversation of my year occurred between me and a frayed copy of Mere Christianity somewhere along the tracks to Prague. When I arrived back a few days later, I returned the book to its shelf in the the Florence program library, and have hoped ever since that it might continue to make its way into the hands of future wanderers like me.
Robert B. Lloyd
Jeff Hamilton (’03)
Blanche E. Seaver Professor of International Studies, Associate Professor of International Relations, and Coordinator, International Studies Program, Seaver College
Director, International Programs, Seaver College
C. S. Lewis is the person most responsible for my conversion to Christianity and what advances I have made in the Christian life. When I was a religiously agnostic law student, someone picked me up while I was hitchhiking. He gave me a book by Lewis that cut straight to my heart, greatly increased my self-understanding, and showed me my need for Christ. Of special value was “The Greatest Sin” in Lewis’s Mere Christianity. Lewis’ God in the Dock showed me that the Christian faith gives insight as to every aspect of life. His The Screwtape Letters taught me both to take the Devil seriously and to laugh at him. I have studied Mere Christianity with generations of law students. With unrelenting logic, Lewis forces us to consider the options—someone who made Jesus’ claims is either a lunatic, a liar, or the Lord of the Universe. Of special, often overlooked, value are the letters from Lewis included in Sheldon Vanauken’s A Severe Mercy, in which Lewis leads the author and his wife, as Oxford students, to faith, and then enables the author to deal with his wife’s tragic death from cancer.
Bob Cochran Louis D. Brandeis Professor, and Director, Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion and Ethics, School of Law
Read more testimonials: magazine.pepperdine.edu/lewis
Photograph used by permission of the Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.
PEPPERDINE HONORS C. S. LEWIS To mark the 50th anniversary of his passing, the Center for Faith and Learning hosted a series of events to commemorate the life, influence, and enduring legacy of author C. S. Lewis. ON OCTOBER 2, the Center for Faith and Learning presented Tom Key in a performance of his acclaimed one-man show, C. S. Lewis on Stage, where the actor drew on Lewis’ autobiography and characters from his works to put the audience in the presence of the author himself. IN ADDITION, British author Steve Turner visited Payson Library on November 7 to speak on Lewis’ impact on Christian philosophy and its relationship to the Christian worldview. Turner, whose own works explore the relationship between popular culture and religion, examined the author in the context of the 21st century and how 50 years after his death, his work continues to resonate and grow in the power of its message. A SERIES OF CLUB CONVOS, discussion-based, small-group programs led by faculty, staff, or students focusing on topics aimed to deepen students’ understanding of Christianity, also honored the works of the beloved author. Events included an examination of spiritual warfare and temptation in The Screwtape Letters; a six-week analysis of Mere Christianity, Lewis’ thoughtful approach to choosing to believe and follow Christ; and a conversation on The Problem of Pain, which seeks to advise how to reconcile pain, grief, and loss with a faith in a loving God.
New Waves women’s basketball coach RYAN WEISENBERG owns five NBA championship rings—an achievement that By Gareen Darakjian even some of the greatest basketball players can’t claim.
He is also just one of a small handful of people to win both an NBA and WNBA championship in the same year. But you wouldn’t have seen Weisenberg in a jersey on the court during his time as the assistant video coordinator and advance scout for the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Sparks, and Houston Comets. Weisenberg’s expertise was seen and felt in the players’ confident strides and swift abilities to defend against the opposition; strategic insight that led the nation’s top scoring basketball teams to victory. From 1999 to 2007 Weisenberg was responsible for analyzing every single aspect of every single practice and game, from breaking down player and coach tendencies, to studying and diagramming plays.
I want to put the women’s team where it needs to be: one of the top programs on the West Coast. “Going into the playoffs in 1999 we would give every player about 20 VHS tapes, and 10 of them would feature specific plays with different adjustments the teams made,” explains Weisenberg. “Then, there would be another 10 videos featuring the top-10 players they were going to play and going to have to defend. Those videos would have their favorite shots, their go-to move; basically, we gave our players a good visual of who they were going to defend that night.” What Weisenberg contributed to the team’s success paled in comparison to what he gleaned from being part of the action. “I learned so much seeing a team fight back,” he remembers. “Watching [former Lakers coach] Phil Jackson guide the team and seeing Kobe Bryant’s work ethic on and off the court—it really put me in a different level. It’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.” Weisenberg’s presence wasn’t always kept behind the scenes. He began his athletic career at a young age, lettering in basketball, football, and baseball at St. Francis High School in La Cañada Flintridge, California. Within his first week on the court at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Weisenberg broke his jaw
and was required to take a break from playing basketball. For many athletes, a traumatic injury means the end of a career. For Weisenberg, it was just the beginning. With an uncertain future looming, he stepped out of one uniform and into another as coach of the eighth grade girl’s basketball team at Mission College Preparatory High School. They were undefeated and went three rounds in the playoffs, only to lose in the semifinals. “I caught the bug,” says Weisenberg, who remembers watching Los Angeles Lakers games and diagramming plays with his father, “a great baseball coach,” in his youth. “The broken jaw was the door opening for me to get into coaching.” Prior to joining the Waves staff in 2012 as an assistant coach, Weisenberg spent three seasons with the Manawatu Jets, a New Zealand-based professional team, serving as both the head coach and the director of basketball operations. In his final season, the Jets finished third in the New Zealand National Basketball League and made a Final Four appearance in the playoffs. “Basketball is not as highly regarded in New Zealand as it is in the U.S., so it
gave me a big opportunity to jump in and kickstart the team, impart my knowledge of basketball to them, and help develop a couple of coaches that are still coaching the team that I left,” says Weisenberg. “The Jets went from being one of the worst in the league to the best and making playoffs in three years.” At Pepperdine Weisenberg is only the sixth head coach in the 38-year history of women’s basketball at the University, continuing a legacy that boasts nine postseason appearances in the last 15 seasons and annual participation in the West Coast Conference. As part of the staff last year, he admits to having learned from the “motherly caring” brought to the team by former coach Julie Rousseau (MA ’12). “It taught me quite a bit about working with players in different ways,” says the coach who is best known for his high energy and high intensity demeanor on the court. His simple, ultimate goal: to see his players graduate and win championships. “I want to put the women’s team where it needs to be: one of the top programs on the West Coast,” he says. “The women’s basketball program is really going to explode and be great,” he says. “I’m just lucky enough to be a part of it.”
PEPPERDINE’S 2013 HALL OF FAMERS Two legendary coaches and two Olympians earn their places in the Pepperdine University Athletics Hall of Fame. This year’s group will join 100 individuals, 14 teams, and eight special achievement recipients that have already been enshrined since the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 1980. Meet Pepperdine’s newest Hall of Famers (left to right): NINA MATTHIES, women’s volleyball, has been the women’s volleyball coach at Pepperdine for the past 30 seasons and taken Pepperdine to the NCAA Tournament 20 times. Since the WCC added women’s volleyball in 1985, Matthies has a league-best 11 WCC titles and has set a league record by winning 47 consecutive conference matches from 1988 to 1992. The 10-time WCC Coach of the Year also leads women’s sand volleyball, which achieved the AVCA national championship in the sport’s inaugural season in 2012 and a second-place finish in 2013. Matthies received the AVCA’s National Coach of the Year award in 2013. GUALBERTO ESCUDERO (’72), women’s tennis, began his 37th year as the Waves’ head coach at the start of the 2013–2014 season, and is now the second-winningest women’s tennis coach in NCAA history. Escudero has earned WCC Coach of the Year honors and the ITA West Regional Coach of the Year award three times each. As a student, the Pepperdine alumnus starred on the men’s tennis team for three seasons (1968–1970), leading the Waves to two conference titles during his tenure. MARCOS LEITE, men’s basketball, is a three-time Olympian for his native Brazil. The 6-foot-10 center who played three seasons for the Waves (1973–1976) earned All-American honors in 1976 and was named WCC Player of the Year. Leite ended his career #6 on Pepperdine’s career scoring chart and still ranks #3 all-time with a career scoring average of 18.7 points. He was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 10th round of the 1976 NBA draft and played professional basketball in Brazil and Italy before retiring in 1989. MERRILL MOSES (’99), men’s water polo, is a two-time Olympian and a three-time All-American who started as a goalkeeper for the U.S. in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, winning a Silver Medal at the former. Moses was part of Gold Medal-winning teams at the 2007 and 2011 Pan American Games and played professionally in Croatia, Italy, and Spain, and with the New York Athletic Club. He played four seasons (1995–1998) for the Waves, helping Pepperdine to its only NCAA championship in the sport in 1997. He returned to Pepperdine as the interim head coach in 2012 and became assistant coach in 2013. LOU AND KATHY COLOMBANO are longtime supporters of Pepperdine and its athletics program. In addition to attending many home competitions over the course of the year, they also travel semiregularly with the men’s basketball team. Lou has served on the Athletics Board since its founding and served as its chair. He and Kathy have also been supporters of other areas of the University, including the Center for the Arts, Seaver Board of Visitors, and Crest Advisory Board. Learn more about these new Hall of Famers: pepperdinesports.com
Highly acclaimed musicians
g ALEXANDER TREGER and LYNN HARRELL h join the Fine Arts Division faculty as artists in residence. By Gareen Darakjian
n response to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s proposal to eliminate all art and music programs from elementary education, Grammy Awardwinning cellist LYNN HARRELL wrote a letter to the district last year touting the necessity of the arts. Art education, he argued, is necessary for growing minds and lifelong happiness, and he implored those responsible for these decisions to keep art and music in the schools, “lest we risk dooming our children to lives of emotional despair.” “Why music is being taken out of the schools is because it is very difficult to measure how it affects the growth of the human being,” says Harrell. “Scientists found that kids who are exposed to music have higher IQs and are better adjusted socially. They have an increased sense of autonomy. I, myself, am a much deeper human being—and happier—because I had music all my life.” Starting this fall, after a lifetime of performances and accolades, Harrell will be pursuing his passion for teaching young musicians as an artist in
residence as part of Pepperdine’s Fine Arts Division faculty. He joins Pepperdine after serving six years on the faculty of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas. Before that, Harrell served for nine years as the international chair for cello studies at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and five years as artistic director of the orchestra and conductor training program at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute. As the child of two professional classical musicians, Harrell was exposed to the industry early on, but admits to never being pushed into pursuing classical music as a profession. The ultimate motivator was a cello teacher whom he came to study with when he was 11 years old. “Within a few months I realized I wanted to make music my life,” recalls Harrell. “It was such a powerful feeling; I was very embarrassed and very shy about showing that to my parents.” The reluctant youngster credits this early experience with breaking him out of his shell and improving his confidence in school and relationships. “I became less shy because I had a big cello I was carrying around and it made me feel legitimate!”Just before his mother passed away in 1962, Harrell played in a master class of Pablo Casals, often regarded as one of the greatest cellists of all time. “I remember what a strong personality he was and, even at 87 years old, he was able to play with such vigor and such passion and demonstrate those things to me, that it just completely transformed my world of what was possible.” By the age of 18 Harrell had lost both of his parents and was faced with the realization that all he had were his cello and a suitcase. “I understood the serious work that was upon me to make this into a profession, so I started educating myself,” he says. After studying at the Juilliard School and Curtis Institute following high school, the young musician joined the Cleveland Orchestra in 1964 and was
its principal cellist until 1971, when he made his recital debut in New York. Since then Harrell has performed internationally as a recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestras. In 1994 Harrell appeared at the Vatican with the Royal Philharmonic for a historic event: the Vatican’s first official commemoration of the Holocaust. The concert honored the memory of the six million Jews who perished and included Pope John Paul II and the chief rabbi of Rome. That year Harrell also appeared live at the Grammy Awards with Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, where he performed an excerpt from their Grammy-nominated recording of the complete Beethoven string trios. In June 2010, along with his wife, violinist Helen Nightengale, Harrell founded the HEARTbeats Foundation, a charity that strives to help children in need harness the power of music to better cope with and recover from the extreme challenges of poverty and conflict. “I always hope that my message of music and its place in our society can be embraced by people that I work with and recognized for what it really means for our spiritual, emotional, and intellectual development.” This year, as part of Pepperdine’s faculty, Harrell hopes to give his students the chance to explore the same opportunities that he has been fortunate enough to enjoy in his years as a musician. “The most valuable aspect of a master class is to endow the student with a performance platform,” he explains. “It is very important to have lessons and practice, but it’s also very important to have performance opportunities. We learn something completely different in a performance, that’s part of the development. To accept and expose oneself and one’s inner, deepest, quivering feelings and let them come out and let it be okay … a master class is able to do that for me.”
ALEXANDER TREGER, former Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra concertmaster, has identified one goal for the students who will be working with him this fall: “Practice more!” exclaims the noted violinist and conductor, who has been giving private lessons to music majors since the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year as an artist in residence. Joking aside, Treger admits that he feels a responsibility to endow the younger generation with his decadeslong knowledge of music gained by collaborating with some of the greatest classical musicians of the 20th century. “I just hope to give them the best I can to make them overall better musicians,” he explains. This feat will not be difficult for the man who started teaching music at the age of 22 as soon as he graduated from the prestigious Moscow Conservatory, where he studied for six years under the “greatest teacher of all time,” renowned Russian violinist David Oistrakh. “He had this enormous ability to see what a specific student needs,” recalls Treger. “I very vividly remember him always saying, ‘Not only do the students learn from me, but I learn from my students, as well. It’s a two-way street,’ and that has always been my philosophy: to not only teach, but also learn.” One of the greatest lessons Treger has learned as a result of his wide-ranging interactions with his pupils has been learning to adjust his teaching method and approach based on the needs of each individual student. “As a teacher, you need to figure out what a particular student needs, what works for them, and what you can give them to make them better,” he explains. “Of course, as far as teaching the music of the great composers of the past or the new music nowadays, I ultimately
I, myself, am a much deeper human being—and happier— because I had music all my life. —Lynn Harrell
try to teach them to be honest with the composer’s text and create an image of what the composer has put on the page. These are things I learned at a very young age.” When Treger was 9 years old, he already knew, after three years of formal musical training, that his pastime would translate into a career. Music schools were a dime a dozen in the former Soviet Union, and Treger set out to become the next great violinist. While at the Moscow Conservatory, Treger took a great interest in conducting and, after graduating, took his first job as a member of the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra. Soon after, he left Russia to become the concertmaster/soloist of the Israel Chamber Orchestra for one season before moving to the United States in 1973. After four years with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Treger was appointed assistant concertmaster in 1978 and promoted to second concertmaster two years later. From 1984 to 2011, he performed with the orchestra as concertmaster, the leader of the first violin section, until his retirement. Throughout his impressive career, Treger has performed with some of the greatest conductors the world over, many of them solo performances with the orchestra at the Music Center and the Hollywood Bowl, including Carlo Maria Giulini, Valery Gergiev, and Pierre Boulez. Still, one of Treger’s proudest accomplishments has been conducting the American Youth Symphony, “one of the best youth orchestras in the country,” since 1998. At Pepperdine he plans to pass along the knowledge, experience, and hope that have carried him throughout his career. But ultimately, he urges his students to be realistic about their future as they embark on their respective journeys to attaining their dreams. “No matter how much talent one can have or is given, it takes a lot of dedication and a lot of hard work to be the best you can be,” he says. “I just practiced today for two hours. I still spend hours with a score. You just can’t live without it.”
That has always been my philosophy: to not only teach, but also learn. —Alexander Treger Listen to a selection of Alexander Treger’s recordings with the Los Angeles Philharmonic: magazine.pepperdine.edu/of-maestros-and-men
Pepperdine VOLUNTEER CENTER Celebrates 25 Years of Student-Led Service by PETER THOMPSON Director, Pepperdine Volunteer Center
THE PEPPERDINE VOLUNTEER CENTER (PVC) STANDS AS A TESTAMENT TO THE SUCCESS OF STUDENT LEADERSHIP from its origins over 25 years ago through the current model of community-engaged learning. Students live out the twofold mission of (1) challenging this campus to engage and think critically with the community and (2) creating sustainable partnerships with organizations that are making positive impacts in the community.
STUDENT LEADERSHIP Twenty-five years ago students asked the administration of Pepperdine University to provide a place for service on campus. After researching models of university centers the PVC was formed with four student leaders. The first event was Step Forward Day, which began humbly as leaders knocked on doors in the housing community to get more volunteers because few had showed up to participate. Today, Step Forward Day is a campus tradition. The 25th Anniversary included 1,454 Pepperdine students, faculty, and staff serving over 4,360 hours in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Additionally, 472 Pepperdine alumni served on the same day connecting Waves across the globe. Student leadership has blossomed from four students the first year to 40 student leaders engaging 65 percent of the campus for a combined 63,462 hours of service.
Watch as students reflect on their experiences serving the community with the Pepperdine Volunteer Center.
The PVC strives to walk alongside students as they discover their passions and develop a deep understanding of God’s call for justice. This happens by serving weekly in a juvenile probationary camp in Malibu or serving a week building water filters in Guatemala over spring break. We recognize
that the community is a coeducator of the Pepperdine experience and students gain real-world knowledge and experience through service. The PVC balances between the curricular and the cocurricular by enhancing the scholarship of community engagement. Last year the PVC supported 58 academic service-learning courses from first-year seminars to capstone courses in business administration and communications.
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP The PVC continues partnerships that it began 25 years ago, with organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu. Students have other opportunities each week to tutor homeless children through School on Wheels and gather fruits and vegetables for FOOD Share in Ventura County. The largest program, Jumpstart, places over 100 students in preschools in low-income communities throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties to develop literacy skills. Students are able to use their spring break to serve throughout the world through Project Serve. These partners are sustainable, year-round organizations with deep roots in the communities we are serving.
LEGACY OF SERVICE The PVC actively pursues George Pepperdine’s vision. The core commitments of (1) knowledge and scholarship, (2) faith and heritage, and (3) community and global understanding can begin with a first-year seminar on Step Forward Day and be deepened in Central America on Project Serve. The institutional values of purpose, service, and leadership are put into practice in a preschool classroom with Jumpstart and in the college classroom through academic service-learning courses. Ultimately, alumni take with them both a first-class education and a life informed by service into their new communities.
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Published on Jan 28, 2014
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