Lives Changed

The Campaign for Pepperdine makes history and affirms the University's vision for transforming lives.

May 1, 2015  | 3 min read

I’m a Wave, and my life has been changed.

This sentiment echoed through the L.A. Live ballroom on May 14, 2011, as 950 guests first caught the vision of the Campaign for Pepperdine: Changing Lives, a fundraising campaign that had been in motion since 2005. On December 31, 2014, nearly four years after that milestone event, the third and largest campaign in the University’s history culminated with an unprecedented finale.

Almost 50,000 alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Pepperdine helped exceed the University’s fundraising goal by contributing over $470 million—surpassing the campaign’s initial goal by $20 million—to fuel the dreams and advance the University in very tangible ways. While motivating a group of devotees seemed challenging in a dire economic climate, a steadfast commitment to the University’s mission and vision inspired their magnanimous support.

“Simply stated, a university with unlimited academic aspirations, coupled with a commitment to a faith heritage, is unique and compelling,” says Pepperdine president Andrew K. Benton.

“When I think about the difficult national economic conditions that were in evidence when we began the campaign, I wonder at our boldness. As I look back now on the journey, what I see is confidence in all that makes Pepperdine special. I am proud of those who joined us in campaign leadership.”

Transformational, major dollar commitments propelled the campaign to historic levels with donors helping to meet the many fundraising objectives that directly impact students. Key successes include $141 million in scholarship funds and aid to students; $140 million in new faculty and academic initiatives; and $114 million in campus improvements, including key international facilities,

Mullin Town Square, Payson Library, and the School of Law. More than half of campaign donors were first-time givers to Pepperdine, raising more than $58 million. Donors also came from all 50 states and 65 countries, contributing more than 159,000 gifts to the campaign.

“I am humbled and grateful for all those who came alongside us to propel the campaign to a successful conclusion,” says Keith Hinkle, vice president for advancement and public affairs and chief development officer. “The funds raised enable us to enter the 21st century from a heightened position of strength. Pepperdine’s model for higher education is, indeed, strong. Every future student will be impacted by those who gave so generously during the campaign.”

The formidable effort was led by campaign chairs, University regent Glen A. Holden, U.S. ambassador (ret.), and Marylyn M. Warren (’58), vice president of eHarmony.com, who were impressed and inspired by the spirit of the supporters.

“At our first campaign meeting, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who had stepped forward to focus on certain elements of the campaign and lead the fundraising for that project,” says Warren. “Many were Pepperdine graduates, but there was a large contingent of Pepperdine friends and parents who love the school and are proud of its accomplishments.”

Holden explains that the future of the University lies in those who believe in the distinctive qualities of Pepperdine and its people.

“It’s demonstratively evident that the environment for students of Pepperdine is unusual and very impressive,” says Holden. “People pick up on that and it makes things like this possible. Pepperdine has become an educational institution that is quite unusual. It gives our students a better place to be, and that’s proven by the success of the campaign for Pepperdine.”

Mere months after its conclusion, the campaign has already impacted the future of the University in many ways, namely the creation of new centers and institutes initiated during campaign years, and the endowment of scholarships for students in need.

“The mission and vision [of the University] hasn’t changed,” says Claudia Arnold Preston, vice chancellor and campaign director. “The campaign takes our aspirations for what we want to be and where we want to invest and gives us a vehicle to explain and share that dream with people who can make it happen. It absolutely revolves around people and their relationships and how they can change an institution and another person’s life by what they do.”

Explore the full Campaign Final Report and view exclusive online content: pepperdine.edu/campaign