News from Pepperdine University Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences. Read how the Pepperdine University Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences is making headlines. en-us Wed, 18 Sep 2019 21:47:06 -0700 Drupal Sarah Fischbach Published in Business and Professional Ethics Journal Sarah Fischbach's recent study on consumer trust of native advertisements was published in a peer-reviewed journal. Wed, 18 Sep 2019 15:00:00 PDT Sarah FischbachSarah Fischbach, assistant professor of communication, and coauthor Jennifer Zarzosa from Henderson State University published a piece of their compelling marketing research in the Business and Professional Ethics Journal. The article, titled “Consumer’s Perception of Native Advertisements,” follows their four-year study on the effect of native advertisements on consumer decision making.

The motivation for the study began when native advertisements, a marketing style that blends sponsored posts with editorial content, first emerged as a prevalent marketing strategy. Fischbach found that since consumers do not always recognize they are viewing a native ad, consumers are more likely to trust the native ad over other forms of advertising (i.e. banner ad). Additionally, if the ad is targeted to consumers, their trust is even stronger, and they are more willing to share through electronic word of mouth (eWOM). Once consumers uncover they are viewing an advertisement, their confidence to make an ethical decision is swayed. This blow to consumer confidence may ultimately impact the consumer’s overall trust of a brand or site where the advertisement was first seen. Fischbach recommends, because of this effect on ad trust, that brands be cautious in their use of native advertisements

Fischbach began instructing students in marketing in 2010 before earning her PhD in 2014 from New Mexico State University. She joined Pepperdine in 2018 and currently teaches in the Communication Division on topics such as marketing ethics and marketing pedagogy. For over five years, she has remained active in the Marketing Educators Association (MEA), an international organization focused on enhancing marketing education, knowledge, and pedagogy. Fischbach currently serves as the President of the MEA.

She has authored several graphic novels as a unique way to begin conversations on ethical thought processes. Fischbach is working with Sabrina Zeri, a fine arts student at Seaver College, to create a graphic novel on the subject of academic integrity.

To find Fischbach’s article and additional recently published research, visit the Research News at Pepperdine archive.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Center for the Arts to Present An Evening of Stories and Songs with Chris Hillman Featuring Herb Pederson The concert will take place at Smothers Theatre on September 21. Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:00:00 PDT Chris HillmanFour-time Grammy nominee and folk/rock innovator Chris Hillman will chronicle his storied music career alongside long-time musical partner Herb Pedersen at Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Saturday, September 21, at 8 PM.

Hillman is more than a rock star. Arguably the pioneer of the genre known as “country rock,” he is one of the architects of contemporary American music. Hillman’s multi-award-winning guitar, mandolin, and bass playing, along with his passionate embrace of music, has made him a national treasure for his contributions to the folk, bluegrass, country, and rock genres.

Hillman grew up in California in the 1950s. After his sister came home from studying art at the University of Mexico and the University of Colorado with a stack of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and other records under her arm, 15-year-old Hillman became enamored with folk and bluegrass music.

Just out of high school in 1963, he joined his first band, the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers playing mandolin. The Squirrel Barkers, based in San Diego, performed throughout California until disbanding later in the year. The Golden State Boys, with brothers Vern and Rex Gosdin and Don Parmely, offered Hillman the job as mandolin player in their bluegrass group. They were seen every week on the local television program Cal’s Corral, and they continued to perform in numerous country and western clubs in Los Angeles County. This gave Hillman the experience he needed, working with such seasoned musicians as the Gosdin Brothers and Don Parmely. They were offered a record deal and recorded one album The Hillmen, which eventually was released on Sugar Hill Records.

The rest is history, with Hillman going on to be a founding member of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, McGuinn Clark and Hillman and the Desert Rose Band. Throughout his six-decade career he also recorded solo albums. He has had great success as a songwriter: a partial list includes Tom Petty, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Dan Fogelberg, The Oak Ridge Boys and Beck.

Hillman’s close friend and collaborator for more than 50 years,Pedersen began his career in Berkeley, California in the early 1960s, playing 5-string banjo and acoustic guitar with artists such as David Grisman, Butch Waller, David Nelson and Jerry Garcia. His recording discography is a like a “who’s who” of the 1970s and 1980s singer/songwriter scene—Emmylou Harris, John Denver, Linda Rondstadt, Vince Gill, Johnny Rivers, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Jennifer Warnes, and John Prine have used Pedersen’s talents in the past and he continues to lend his voice to new recording projects. Pedersen has also been involved in television and motion picture soundtracks since the early 1970s. The Rockford FilesSmokey and The BanditMaverickHunter, and The Simpsons have used Pedersen either on 5-string banjo or vocals for many years. His songwriting has been another mainstay of his career. The Seldom Scene, the Dillards, the Desert Rose Band and Alan Jackson have all recorded Pedersen’s songs. He has been a member of the Pine Valley Boys, Vern and Ray, the Dillards, the Laurel Canyon Ramblers, the Desert Rose Band, J2B2, and Loafers’ Glory. Pedersen has given his time and talent to many charitable events.

Ticket prices range between $10 and $40. For additional information about this performance, and to purchase tickets, visit the Center for the Arts website.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
A Capella Group Naturally 7 to Perform at Smothers Theatre The performance will take place on September 20. Mon, 16 Sep 2019 09:00:00 PDT Naturally 7Acclaimed a capella group Naturally 7 will bring its harmonious sounds to Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Friday, September 20, at 8 PM.

More than just your average singing group, the members of Naturally 7 have perfected an intriguing a cappella style they’ve branded “Vocal Play”—singing as instruments. In its quest to celebrate the voice, this seven-man crew not only sings but also creates every backing instrument heard on its songs, including drums, bass, guitars, horns, flutes, and turntables.

Stepping beyond R&B and pop, Naturally 7 taps into various genres, from traditional gospel and rock to 17th century baroque, that on the surface do not seem to mesh. But in the hands of musical director/first baritone/rapper Roger Thomas and his six enterprising cohorts—brother Warren Thomas (drums, third tenor), Rod Eldridge (first tenor, turntables, trumpet), Lee Ricardo “Ricky” Cort (fourth tenor, guitar), Dwight Stewart (second baritone, trombone), Sean Simmonds (second tenor, harmonica) and Kelvin “Kelz” Mitchell (bass)—the impossible becomes possible. The diversity of the group’s music reflects the depth of Naturally 7’s influences, which range from a cappella predecessors Take Six and Bobby McFerrin to hip-hop’s Doug E. Fresh, the Fat Boys and OutKast, as well as ‘40s R&B quartet the Ink Spots, the Carpenters, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Bee Gees, and the Beatles.

With their rich harmonies and a stage presence that can be felt in every seat of the house, the group has performed for over 8 million people worldwide. As the special guest of Canadian superstar Michael Bublé during three world tours, Naturally 7 has been met with standing ovations in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, China, South East Asia, South America, South Africa, and many other countries on five continents. The group’s resumé also includes an opening stint with hitmakers Coldplay, headlining the Playboy Jazz Festival, playing London’s Royal Albert Hall, performing at the BET Honors for Herbie Hancock and singing at Quincy Jones’ 75th birthday party in Montreux, Switzerland.

Having met in school and gospel choir where they discovered their perfect hyper-vocal capabilities, Naturally 7 first rose to prominence in 2007. Jumpstarting their exposure: a video of the group on a Paris subway train singing Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” that went viral—the video received over six million hits on YouTube alone, and the song turned into a Top 3 chart success in France, Belgium, and South Africa and made the singles charts in other European countries, such as Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Portugal.

The group has since released 10 studio albums, performed on various TV shows including EllenThe Today ShowThe Tonight Show, The Late Late Show with Craig FergusonThe View, and The Arsenio Hall Show, partnered with the General Mills Corporation on two Honey Nut Cheerios commercials, performed at the prestigious Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Conference, served as performance guests during the Winter Olympic Games, and most recently were named Group Music Champions in CBS’ new reality talent competition World’s Best that aired from February to April 2019.

Ticket prices range between $10 and $45. For additional information about this performance, and to purchase tickets, visit the Center for the Arts website.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Student Success Center Launches First Wave Ambassador Program To expand support for first-generation college students, the First Wave program adds three peer ambassadors. Fri, 13 Sep 2019 15:30:00 PDT Since 2018, the First Wave program has dedicated itself to offering first-generation college students resources to ensure they thrive at Seaver College. In an effort to expand support, the First Wave Ambassador program launched at the First-generation Family Reception on August 21, 2019. Three students—Jerry Calderon, Shument Cheng, and Courtney Pereida—were introduced as the program’s inaugural group of ambassadors. The competitive position searched for students comfortable leading and providing assistance to students of diverse cultural, social, and educational backgrounds. A scholarship is offered to support the ambassadors’ work. Each ambassador brings their unique expertise to the Student Success Center to support a variety of students’ needs.

Jerry Calderon

Jerry Calderon grew up in Santa Clarita and San Fernando, California. Throughout his childhood, his mother was always encouraging him through his educational journey. Books with strong, educated characters were also a static feature in his early life, which led him to strive for college. People such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg or stories such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee inspired Calderon to pursue psychology to advocate for people of color and other under-served populations. Calderon was surrounded by several religious figures in his life, which led him to find joy and sanctuary in Pepperdine’s commitment to Christian education.  While he always identified as a first-generation college student, Calderon admitted struggling with feelings of loneliness and lack of community in his first semester. During his campaign for the Student Government Association’s senator position, he heard from students with experiences similar to his own. Shortly after he found community in the First-gen Club. As an ambassador, he encourages every first-generation college student to “be authentically and unforgivably themselves.” He anticipates graduation in 2022, and he hopes to complete the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution certificate.

Shument ChengShument Cheng was born in San Francisco shortly after her parents immigrated to the United States from China. Her mother, determined to provide a better life for Cheng and her brother, always valued education. Cheng’s academic success led her to a college preparatory high school where she was able to strengthen herself before the demands of a university experience. As she began her first year at Pepperdine, majoring in psychology and economics, she recalls her identity as a first-generation college student never being a topic of discussion. She did, however, realize her passion for education equity and quickly got involved with the Pepperdine Volunteer Center. In her first year, she volunteered with Jumpstart, a program dedicated to early childhood learning centers, then as a sophomore got involved with College Connection, in which she mentors under-served high school students. In the summer before her junior year, she studied abroad in Lausanne, Switzerland. She encourages first-generation students to take advantage of the international programs available to Seaver College students. As she approaches graduation in April 2020, she is looking forward to returning to San Francisco and hopefully entering the Human Resources industry.

Courtney Pereida Courtney Pereida, from Chino Hills, California, decided at a young age that she wanted to attend university. She remembers her high school giving her several days off to tour colleges, one of those fateful campuses being Pepperdine. After the intensive preparation of high school, she moved to Pepperdine, marking history in her family as the first of her siblings to go away for college. She quickly took advantage of the experiences at Pepperdine by getting involved and seeking internships. In her sophomore year and after convincing her parents, she traveled to Washington, DC for a semester abroad program.  After a semester of edifying internships and classes, her friend encouraged her to join the First Wave program as the Events Coordinator once she returned to Pepperdine. “Getting involved in the First-gen Club,” Pereida reflects, “showed me the importance of finding community. I encourage all students to understand the importance of getting involved in any way they can.” She anticipates graduation in 2021 with a major in political science, minor in English literature, and the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution certificate. After graduation, she hopes to apply to law school.

The First Wave program launched in Fall 2018. Within the first year, the program garnered the support of 20 faculty mentors and earned Pepperdine recognition as a First Forward Institution from the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and the Suder Foundation. To learn more about the First Wave program or to find the First Wave Ambassadors’ office hours, visit the Student Success Center in Payson Library.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Seaver College Fine Arts Division to Present Futureproof The play portrays sensitive topics, such as eating disorders and body image. Fri, 13 Sep 2019 09:00:00 PDT Seaver College Fine Arts Division - Pepperdine UniversityThe Fine Arts Division at Seaver College will present their production of Fringe First winner Futureproof by Lynda Radley at Lindhurst Theatre in Malibu on Tuesday, September 24 through Friday, September 27, at 7:30 PM, and Saturday, September 28, at 2 PM and 7:30 PM. A talkback with the actors and director will be held after the Wednesday performance.

In a desperate attempt to keep his company afloat, Robert Riley, owner of Riley's Odditorium, tries out a new marketing strategy: Will audiences pay to see his company of genuine wonders become just like them? This band of traveling performers have to decide if they want to fit in or stand out in this incredibly insightful play about identity and the capacities of the human spirit.

Cathy Thomas-Grant, professor of theatre and the divisional dean of the Fine Arts Division at Seaver College, will direct the student cast, which will feature Nate Bartoshuk, Lauren Burton, Sara Eakman, Alexander Kolm, Bri Lawrence, Clayton Mattingly, and Julia Pankow.

“Lynda writes with style, humor, and poetic passion. This poignant, funny and incredibly insightful play is about a family of misfits that the world has left behind,” explained Thomas-Grant. “For me the play is about the difference between self-directed change and something that’s imposed on you from the outside. What steps do you have to take to make yourself relevant to an audience? What happens when you become a stranger to yourself and give up your individuality?”

This play portrays sensitive topics, such as eating disorders and body image. Late seating will not be allowed. 

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for Pepperdine faculty and staff, and $10 for full-time Pepperdine students. For additional information about the performances, visit the Center for the Arts website.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
International Violinist Blake Pouliot to Perform at Raitt Recital Hall Pouliot will be the first Recital Series performer of the 2019–2020 season. Thu, 12 Sep 2019 08:45:00 PDT Blake PouliotCanadian violinist Blake Pouliot will come to Pepperdine University's Raitt Recital Hall on Sunday, September 15, at 2 PM, as the first Recital Series performer of the 2019–2020 season.

His program includes Mozart’s Violin Sonata in F major, K. 376, Bartók’s Rhapsody No. 1, Kreisler’s Caprice Viennois, Saariaho’s Nocturne, Janáček’s Violin Sonata, and de Sarasate’s Zigeneurweisen.

Pouliot has emerged internationally as one of Canada’s most eminent young artists. Recognized for his bold stage presence and sensitive yet commanding artistry, he has been described by the Toronto Star as, “One of those special talents that come along once in a lifetime.” In November 2018 Pouliot was awarded the prestigious Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, a career grant for a Canadian artist who demonstrates outstanding talent, musicianship, and artistic excellence in both Canada and on the world stage.

Pouliot’s debut album featuring the works of Ravel and Debussy was nominated for a 2019 Juno for Best Classical Album after being released in 2018 on Analekta Records. Upcoming and recent career highlights include return engagements with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Toronto and Montreal Symphonies, and debuts with the San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Milwaukee, Vancouver, Detroit, and Atlanta Symphonies.

As Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Manulife Competition, Pouliot toured across South America during the summer of 2017 as soloist with the YOA Orchestra of the Americas performing Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons with conductors Carlos Miguel Prieto and Paolo Bortolameolli. He later returned to Montreal where he was featured in recital at the Montreal Symphony’s Viree Classique series.

Since his debut with the Toronto Trinity Chamber Orchestra at age 11, Pouliot has performed as a soloist with the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Ottawa Symphony, Pacific Symphony, the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria, and the Colburn Orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall; and with conductors Sir Neville Marriner, Nicolas McGegan, Tito Muñoz, Carl St. Clair, Alain Trudel, David Afkham, Vasily Petrenko, Alexander Shelley, David Danzmyer, and Hugh Wolff. Pouliot has performed in recital in Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto, and was featured on Rob Kapilow's What Makes it Great? series with Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

In 2018 Pouliot won both the Career Development Award from the Women’s Club of Toronto and the Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Arts Council. In 2013 he received the Canada Council for the Arts’ Michael Measure Prize, which gave him the opportunity to tour with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto. Pouliot has also had the honor of performing a private recital for Canadian Prime Minister Stephan Harper in 2012.

Pouliot studied violin in Canada with Marie Berard and Erika Raum, and completed his training as an associate of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He attended many summer music programs, including the Aspen Music Festival and School, before graduating from the Colburn School Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Robert Lipsett, the Jascha Heifetz Distinguished Violin Chair.

He performs on the 1729 Guarneri del Gesù, on generous loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank as First Laureate of their 2018 Competition.

Ticket prices range between $10 and $28. For additional information about this performance, and to purchase tickets, visit the Center for the Arts website.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Seaver College Recognizes Three New Endowed Professors Joi Carr, Cynthia Colburn, and Roslyn Satchel receive endowed professorships to support research expenses. Tue, 10 Sep 2019 10:00:00 PDT Pepperdine’s commitment to academic excellence is evident as the community congratulates three prominent professors who have received endowed professorships to support their research and other academic pursuits. This academic year professors Joi Carr, Cynthia Colburn, and Roslyn Satchel begin their five-year term. With the endowed professorships, all three faculty members will receive support through an annual stipend to cover continued research expenses, conferences, and more. 

Joi Carr

Joi Carr, professor of English and film studies, is a notable presence at Pepperdine and across the nation. Carr has shared her expertise with Seaver students and the broader Pepperdine community for more than 21 years. For her skills as an educator, Pepperdine awarded Carr the Exemplary Teaching in the Area of Faith and Learning award in 2002 and the Brett J. Love Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004. Under her leadership, the Multicultural Theatre Project has provided a space for students to explore diversity in a multidisciplinary approach, which is the subject of her first monograph. Carr received a California Humanities Quick Grant for her project SoCal Perspectives on Black Masculinity Summit that she led as program director in 2018. Carr was also the recipient of Pepperdine’s Distinction in Diversity and Inclusive Excellence last year. Most recently Carr, along with five other Pepperdine faculty, was awarded a Waves of Innovation 2019 grant to support the implementation of a master of science in entertainment, media, and sports business program.  Beyond Pepperdine, she is known for her publication Boyz N the Hood: Shifting Hollywood Terrain, which is the primary monograph for John Singleton’s history-making film, Boyz N the Hood. With the endowed professorship, Carr will focus on completing four books on various topics while also collaborating with students on critical research.

Cynthia ColburnSince 2003 Cynthia Colburn has excelled in sharing art history with Seaver students. Colburn’s edited collection, Reading a Dynamic Canvas: Adornment in the Ancient Mediterranean World, was published in 2008 and features essays that discuss the performance of identity through adornment. Colburn was recognized in 2014 for her achievements in the classroom with the Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence. Recipients of a Waves of Innovation grant in 2017, Colburn and two other Seaver Fine Arts faculty turned a truck into a mobile gallery that showcases Seaver students’ creative scholarship in the community. Beyond serving as a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute and receiving a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has been awarded several grants from Pepperdine, including four Dean’s Research Grants and five Undergraduate Research Grants to mentor Seaver students through their art history research. Colburn’s essay written with student Ella Gonzalez, “Teaching Art History in the Wake of #MeToo” was published, in 2018 on Hyperallergic, an online art and culture forum. Colburn and Gonzalez presented the essay at the College Art Association Conference in New York in February 2019. With the endowed professorship, she is eager to continue research on Mediterranean art from the Bronze Age, with a special focus on the interconnections of bodily adornment, ritual performance, and identity. Colburn shared that the endowment will also allow her to devote more time to working with Seaver students on research projects.

Roslyn Satchel, associate professor of communication, has been leading Pepperdine students through topics of diversity and intersectionality in media, religion, and law for more than five years. Satchel’s research on intimate partner violence has earned her several grants, including the Community-Based Research Program and the Pepperdine Cross-School Collaborative Research Program. In 2016 she published her book, What Movies Teach about Race: Exceptionalism, Erasure, and Entitlement, which examines the highest-grossing films under a critical lens, and the following year she was awarded the Distinction in Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. As a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Satchel dedicates her life to what she describes as her ministry of social justice and human rights in the classroom, in the church, and in the media. Through her teaching and writing, she hopes to encourage more students to advocate for each individual’s dignity. 

In addition to these three new professorships, Seaver College is proud to begin the 2019–2020 academic year with ten endowed chairs across six different divisions, nine continuing endowed professorships, and three endowed fellowships. Eligibility for endowed positions requires distinguished teachers and scholars to be nominated by their divisions and to have a professional reputation that extends beyond Pepperdine. Intended to honor and promote exceptional teaching as well as notable scholarship, recipients’ work must add critical value to their field of study.

To learn more about endowments at Seaver College visit Research at Pepperdine University.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Five Departments Relocate to New Student Assistance Center The relocation, executed in collaboration between the Office of the Provost and Student Affairs, will improve the student experience by combining several on-campus resources in one building. Tue, 10 Sep 2019 08:15:00 PDT Student Assistance Center - Pepperdine UniversityOn September 6, 2019, the Pepperdine Counseling Center, Housing and Residence Life, the Office of Student Accessibility, and the Student Health Center relocated to the Student Assistance Center, formerly known as the Seaver Academic Center, at the Malibu campus. Services offered at the new location, adjacent to the Center for Communication and Business building along Seaver Drive, commenced on September 9. The relocation, executed in collaboration between the Office of the Provost and Student Affairs, will provide each of the offices with additional space and improve the student experience by combining several on-campus resources in one building.

“As we look forward to serving the community from a space that reflects the University's unwavering commitment to students, we remember George Pepperdine's words in the Affirmation Statement: ‘The student, as a person of infinite dignity, is the heart of the educational enterprise,’ and we trust that this new space will reflect this affirmation,” says Sandra K. Harrison, executive director of the Office of Student Accessibility. Harrison also shares that students visiting the Office of Student Accessibility will have the opportunity to meet Sophie, an Australian poodle mix registered with Therapy Dogs International, who will be present in the office's waiting room several mornings a week. 

Among the resources available at the Student Assistance Center, the facility features a new Health Center that offers services provided at most urgent care facilities or medical clinics in the area. Operating similarly to a family physician’s office, the new space demonstrates the latest in health standards and offers care for men’s and women’s health, illness and injury, respiratory concerns, dermatology, immunizations, labs, in-house testing, nutrition, and massage therapy.

The improved Counseling Center space offers two additional offices for private one-on-one counseling, as well as a relaxation room that is open to all Pepperdine students, regardless of whether they are in counseling. Housing and Residence Life, which includes Housing Operations staff and Residence Life staff who were grouped in different buildings over the last several years, will now work together in one shared space to facilitate student support, team communications, and overall synergy. A dedicated testing facility has also been imagined to accommodate students’ testing needs. 

Affectionately nicknamed “the Student Awesome Center” by staff, the Pepperdine community is invited to tour the Student Assistance Center during an open house event on Friday, October 11, during the 10th annual Waves Weekend.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Center for the Arts to Present An Evening of Luther Vandross Starring Ruben Studdard The concert will take place at Smothers Theatre on September 14. Mon, 09 Sep 2019 08:30:00 PDT Ruben StuddardGrammy-nominated singer and American Idol winner Ruben Studdard will pay tribute to the remarkable talent of Luther Vandross as part of a special concert event coming to Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Saturday, September 14, at 8 PM.

There will never be another Luther Vandross, but no other voice comes closer to his than that of Ruben Studdard—the remarkable talent who was hailed as the “next Luther” during his American Idol-winning run. With Ruben Sings Luther, Studdard performs many of Vandross’ hits in a magical night that honors the late music legend.

Vandross was born in Manhattan and was raised in the Bronx from the age of nine. A singer/songwriter, Vandross was an eight-time Grammy Award-winning R&B mega-star who sold over 35 million records worldwide during his lifetime. Amongst his 30 top 10 hits are “Endless Love,” “Always and Forever,” “Here and Now,” “Power of Love,” “Dance with My Father,” and “Any Love.” Vandross passed away in 2005 from complications following a stroke.

Studdard is an American R&B, pop, and gospel singer and actor who has toured extensively for nearly two decades and has sold more than two million albums. He rose to fame as the winner of the second season of American Idol, during which he was given the nickname “Velvet Teddy Bear” for his large voice, warm stage presence, and easy confidence by guest judge Gladys Knight.

His 2003 debut album, the hip-hop flavored R&B record Soulful, hit the number 1 position on the Billboard charts, has been certified platinum and won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding New Artist. The album spawned several top 10 hit songs including “Flying Without Wings,” “Sorry 2004,” and “Superstar,” the latter of which earned a nomination for Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, ironically alongside his idol Vandross, who ultimately won the category.

Studdard’s next release, the gospel album I Need an Angel (2004), entered the gospel charts at number 1, went gold, won the Billboard Gospel Music Awards for both Artist and Album, and was nominated for the BET Best Gospel Artist Award. During the next decade, Studdard toured and released three more hit albums that included the top selling singles “Change Me,” “Make Ya Feel Beautiful,” “Love Him Like I Do,” “Together,” and “Don’t Make ‘Em Like U No More.”

He has also found success on the stage. In 2008 he joined the revival tour of Ain’t Misbehavin’ starring as Fats Waller, and the well-received production was honored with a Grammy nomination for its soundtrack recording. Studdard toured with Robin Givens in the comedy-drama I Need a Hug, and he made his Broadway debut in December 2018 when he reunited with his American Idol contemporary Clay Aiken for Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show, where they playfully tried to upstage each other as they humorously traded verses of Christmas classics.

In 2018 Studdard came full circle from his American Idol "Superstar” days with the release of his Vandross tribute album Ruben Sings Luther. The album features Studdard’s passionate interpretations of his favorite Vandross songs. 

This performance is sponsored by the Office of the President of Pepperdine University.

Ticket prices range between $40 and $80, and are $10 for Pepperdine students. For additional information about this performance, and to purchase tickets, visit the Center for the Arts website.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Singer Darlene Love to Kick Off 2019–2020 Season at Center for the Arts The performance will take place at Smothers Theatre in Malibu on September 12. Thu, 05 Sep 2019 08:45:00 PDT Darlene LoveRock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Darlene Love will kick off the 2019–2020 season at the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts with her powerhouse vocals at Smothers Theatre in Malibu on Thursday, September 12, at 8 PM.

An iconic singer, Love continues to captivate audiences worldwide with her superb vocal talent and warm, gracious stage presence. Love’s five-decade career spans some of the greatest signature moments in music, with the Los Angeles native nurturing her talent early as a member of the Blossoms, a local trio who began their career providing backup vocals for artists such as Sam Cooke and Bobbie Day. The Blossoms also were featured as part of the house band for the popular 1960s music show Shindig, backing up many of the performers who appeared on the series. Love would go on to become one of the most sought-after singers in music history, recording with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Dionne Warwick, the Righteous Brothers, Tom Jones, and dozens of other vocal giants throughout her career. Her early work with pioneering producer Phil Spector on songs such as the trailblazing “He’s a Rebel,” “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” and “Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Hearts,” would garner her legend status.

She is featured in the 2013 Academy Award and Grammy Award-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom, chronicling the behind-the-scenes lives of background singers. Darlene’s annual holiday performance of her classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on Late Night with David Letterman became a holiday viewing staple.

Love is also an accomplished star of both stage and screen having appeared in movies, television, and on Broadway. She has starred in major motion pictures like the highly successful Lethal Weapon series, and Broadway hits like Hairspray and Grease. She even starred as herself in Leader of the Pack, credited as Broadway’s first “jukebox musical.”

This performance is sponsored by the Office of the President of Pepperdine University. 

Ticket prices range between $40 and $65 for adults, and are $10 for Pepperdine students. For additional information about this performance, and to purchase tickets, visit the Center for the Arts website.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Pepperdine to Honor 9/11 Victims with 12th Annual Waves of Flags Display and Ceremony The memorial service will be held at Alumni Park in Malibu on September 11, at 8:30 AM. Wed, 04 Sep 2019 08:45:00 PDT Waves of Flags - Pepperdine UniversityPepperdine University will commemorate the lives lost in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, during a memorial service at Alumni Park on Wednesday, September 11, at 8:30 AM. The service will honor those who still grieve and remember the heroes whose courageous acts prevented further loss of life during the historic tragedy. The ceremony, led by University chancellor Sara Young Jackson (’74), will also recognize the University’s annual Waves of Flags display at Alumni Park and include the planting of the final flag by American singer and longtime University friend Pat Boone.

The event will feature a scripture reading by Meredith McCune, president of the Seaver College Student Government Association, followed by a message from Jim Gash (JD '93), president of Pepperdine University. The ceremony will close with a benediction from Sharon Hargrave, executive director of the Boone Center for the Family.

“In commemorating 9/11, we seek to mourn the innocent lives lost, but also to be inspired by the heroism and selflessness that our fellow Americans demonstrated on that day,” says President Gash. “We hope that, even as they mourn and reflect on the lives lost, visitors to Waves of Flags will be inspired by the bravery and self-sacrifice of those heroes.”

For the 12th consecutive year, the Waves of Flags installation will pay tribute to the 2,977 lives lost in the 9/11 terror attacks. The installation features a display of 2,887 American flags for each American life lost and 90 international flags representing the home countries of those from abroad. The Waves of Flags installation became a University tradition in 2008 when the Pepperdine College Republicans, inspired by a similar display, wanted to bring the tribute to the University. 

For more than a decade, Waves of Flags has been a significant service project for the Pepperdine, Malibu, and Greater Los Angeles communities. On Saturday, September 7, 2019, a group of more than 200 volunteers, including Pepperdine faculty, staff, students, and Malibu community members, will join together to install and raise the flags as part of Step Forward Day, the University’s annual day of service.

Pepperdine is also the permanent home of Heroes Garden, a public space for visitors to reflect and honor all those who live heroic lives, including Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. (MBA ’95), a passenger on United Flight 93, whose life was cut short in the 9/11 attacks. The garden's plaque reads: “Dedicated to freedom's heroes of September 11, 2001, and the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, among them Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., who sacrificed their lives to overcome terrorists’ intent on destroying American lives and landmarks in our nation's capital. We shall never forget.”

Waves of Flags is open to the public for viewing and visitation at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road until Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Pepperdine to Present It's All Black & White: Contemporary Art from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation A special opening reception will be held on September 15, from 4 to 6 PM. Thu, 15 Aug 2019 09:15:00 PDT Black & White: Contemporary Art from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation - Pepperdine UniversityThe Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University will present It’s All Black & White: Contemporary Art from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation from Tuesday, August 27, through Sunday, December 8. A special opening reception will be held on Sunday, September 15, from 4 to 6 PM, and will begin with a walkthrough tour guided by foundation director Billie Milam Weisman. There is no admission charge and the public is invited to attend.

Early in the 20th century Russian artist Kazimir Malevich revolutionized art with his Black Square of 1915 and his White on White of 1918. He set the tone for later developments by showing how powerfully expressive paintings can be made using only pure black or pure white.

In color theory, black and white are complete opposites. Where black is the absorption or absence of visible light, white is the totality of all visible wavelengths of light. For decades artists have used these stark opposites to explore a range of concerns, ranging from spirituality to formalism to realism to pure visual sensation. Rather than limit the possibilities, black and white expanded the range of expression available to artists.

This exhibition focuses on how contemporary artists since 1970 have used black and white. The majority of the works are American, with a special focus on works from California. Included are seminal movements such as Pop Art, Process Art, Light and Space, New Figuration, Appropriation Art, Expressionism, and more. It features works by Lita Albuquerque, Charles Arnoldi, Natalie Arnoldi, Richard Artschwager, Larry Bell, Kelly Berg, Tara Donovan, Joe Goode, Jasper Johns, Andy Moses, Ed Moses, Manfred Muller, Robert Rauschenberg, Analia Saban, Andy Warhol, Emerson Woofer, and many others.

“Black and white are conceptual but also sensuous. This exhibition is smart but also stylish,” said Michael Zakian, director of the Weisman Museum.

Highlights of the exhibition will include:

Pop Art 

While Pop Art is usually linked to the garish colors of modern advertising, the movement also produced more restrained images. Jasper John’s Black Flags reworks an iconic image into meditative patterns of black and white tones. Robert Rauschenberg’s black and white photographs reveal the artist searching for source material to be incorporated into his larger works.

Process Art 

In the 1970s artists turned their attention to exploring new materials. Ed Moses’ canvases push the boundaries of transitory processes, turning accidental marks and spills into images that synthesize American and Asian aesthetics. Emerson Woelffer, known primarily as a painter, is represented by clay sculpture that transform his gestural marks into three-dimensional forms that rethink the traditional vessel.

Black & White: Contemporary Art from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation - Pepperdine UniversityFather and Daughter Duo 

Malibu resident Charles Arnoldi, who began his career in the 1970s with Process Art utilizing wood, moved beyond this style in the early 90s by returning to traditional material such as oil paint and bronze. He would periodically turn to black and white to rethink the basic propositions of his art. He is joined by his daughter, Natalie Arnoldi, whose art, inspired by the emptiness of Edward Hopper and film noir, re-envisions the familiar icons of Southern California streets as haunting, vacant sites.

Light and Space 

This movement of the 1960s and 70s utilized real and light and actual space to explore perceptual phenomena. Larry Bell, a pioneer of the movement, explored ways of trapping and releasing light in both glass boxes and iridescent paintings. Lita Albuquerque created work exploring the poetic and ephemeral aspects of the landscape around us.


A dominant force in 1980s art, Appropriation recycled pre-existing images by presenting them in new, unexpected formats. John Baldessari’s Horizontal Men of 1984 features still photos of dead men taken from B&W western and war movies—and draws attention to violence in popular media. Tim Berresheim’s Wig series captures female wigs floating against incongruous backgrounds, creating surreal images that blend the familiar with the strange.

Recent Abstraction

Tara Donovan emerged in the early 2000s as a new type of Process Artist. She takes everyday materials, such as plastic straws, styrofoam cups, and ball-point pens, turning them into constructions of accumulation that amaze with stunning atmospheric effects. Kelly Berg’s expressionist abstract landscapes enter into a post-apocalyptic world.

Funding has been provided by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation and an anonymous donor. This exhibition was curated by Billie Milam Weisman.

For additional information about this exhibition, visit the Weisman Museum website.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Pepperdine University to Host Presidential Inauguration Ceremony for Jim Gash Signature inauguration events will include a worship service, inspiring messages from guest speakers, and moments for fellowship and celebration. Fri, 02 Aug 2019 13:45:00 PDT Inauguration events for James A. Gash (JD '93), the eighth president and chief executive officer of Pepperdine University, will begin the week before and continue the week of the presidential inauguration ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, September 25, 2019. The Pepperdine community is invited to participate in the milestone occasion to welcome Gash, the first alumnus to serve Pepperdine as president, which will include a worship service, inspiring messages from guest speakers, and moments for fellowship and celebration. A formal ceremony during which Gash will be installed as the University’s president will be the hallmark of a series of special events that celebrate the University's heritage of faith and commitment to academic excellence. Gash, who took office on August 1, 2019, succeeds Andrew K. Benton, who served as the University’s president from 2000 to 2019.

Signature inauguration events will include a praise and worship event on Monday, September 23, at 7 PM at Firestone Fieldhouse, which will include a performance by internationally acclaimed Christian music praise and worship group Hillsong Worship. The evening will also feature guest speakers Bob Goff, New York Times best-selling author and founder of nonprofit organization Love Does, and Dave Clayton, lead church planter and pastor at Ethos Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Jennifer J. Wiseman, senior astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where she serves as the senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, will deliver the inauguration keynote lecture on Tuesday, September 24, at 7 PM at Smothers Theatre.

The investiture and installation of Gash as the eighth president and chief executive officer of Pepperdine University will take place during the inauguration ceremony at 10 AM on Wednesday, September 25, in Alumni Park. The ceremony will consist of many long-standing academic traditions and protocols, including an academic processional, greetings to the president from members of the community, and the delivery of President Gash's inaugural address. Ryan Board, Pepperdine director of choral activities, will lead the Pepperdine University Chamber Choir in a performance of classical selections.

Delegates from universities across the nation; community leaders; and Pepperdine faculty, staff, students, and alumni will be in attendance to honor Pepperdine’s storied heritage and celebrate the vibrant future of the University. A luncheon immediately following the inauguration ceremony will be open to members of the community. Registration is requested for both the ceremony and luncheon.

For those unable to attend the inauguration ceremony, the event will be broadcast live via Livestream. A link will be available on the inauguration website on the day of the event.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Pepperdine Mourns Passing of Professor Emeritus James Smythe Pepperdine is saddened to announce the passing of James Smythe, professor emeritus of English. Wed, 31 Jul 2019 12:30:00 PDT James Smythe looking down while distributing exam. Pepperdine University is saddened to announce the passing of James Smythe, Seaver College professor emeritus of English, on July 28, 2019. He was 95. 

“Dr. Smythe made innumerable profound and lasting contributions to Pepperdine during his career,” reflects Michael Feltner, dean of Seaver College. “His legacy remains vibrant, and our memories of him will persist forever.” 

Born on August 6, 1923, Smythe lived a life full of Christian devotion and service. He began preaching in Churches of Christ when he was only 17 years old and continued throughout his tenure at Pepperdine at several churches in the Los Angeles area as well as in  Alabama, Tennessee, and Illinois.

Smythe served Pepperdine in numerous roles beginning in 1952. As a professor of English at George Pepperdine College in Los Angeles and later at Seaver College when the Pepperdine campus moved to Malibu, he helped students develop the expertise to examine literature from spiritual and ethical perspectives. His leadership and contributions to student growth left a lasting impression long after the conclusion of his service as chair of the Seaver College Humanities and Teacher Education Division. Beyond the classroom, Smythe also served as a University archivist dedicated to the preservation of Pepperdine’s history, an endeavor in which many in the community believe he played a significant role.

He is survived by his children, Aurora and Dan; six grandchildren, Jenny, Jason, Amy, Jonathan, Shannon, and Samuel; and five great-grandchildren, Mattias, Aria, Lyra, Micah, and Evan. 

Smythe’s family has planned a graveside service in Washington on August 2, 2019, where he will be laid to rest beside his beloved late wife, Betty.

To honor and celebrate his life, the family asks that contributions be made to Pepperdine University or any Church of Christ children’s home.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences
Student Awarded Grant to Perform Innovative Research in Santa Monica Mountain Creek Beds Audrey Fontes will research two invasive species with the help of SMBAS research grant. Thu, 25 Jul 2019 10:00:00 PDT Audrey Fontes looking into microscope.Audrey Fontes, Seaver College student in the Natural Science Division, was awarded a grant from the Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society (SMBAS), whose mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems. The grant was awarded to aid her continual research on the behavioral ecology of the invasive crayfish and its minuscule companion the ostracod. This is the first time a Seaver College student has been awarded a grant of this kind, and this is the first study to give insight on the mysterious relationship between the two species.

Fontes began researching invasive species in the creeks of the Santa Monica Mountains under the mentorship of Dr. Lee Kats in the summer of 2018. Crayfish are particularly destructive as they are omnivorous, feasting on native plants, fish, and frogs. The ostracods, no larger than half a millimeter, attach to the body of the crayfish and depend on it for survival. The tiny species sparked Fontes’ curiosity into the possibility of a relationship between ostracod presence and crayfish aggression. After developing a careful, chemical process to remove the ostracods from the crayfish without harming either, she observed that the presence of ostracods slowed the rate at which the crayfish ate and led to less aggressive behaviors.

This grant from SMBAS will allow Fontes to deepen her understanding of this relationship which in turn may offer some solutions to the management of the crayfish population and to the restoration of weakened natural habitats. Fontes will share her initial research findings during the Annual Conference of the Animal Behavior Society in Chicago this weekend. She has spent this summer reviewing the literature and is eager to begin the next stage of her research in August 2019.

Seaver College of Letters Arts & Sciences