This issue of Pepperdine Magazine highlights some of those diverse family units that we form in the places where we dedicate our time and abilities. For Alan Beard (’94, MPP ’99) and Alec McNayr (’00) of McBeard Media, family is about creating a close, cooperative environment at work. For Mara Leigh Taylor (MA ’03, MA ’06), family is found in the encouragement among prison inmates as they struggle to alter their actions. For John Standley (’85), family is demonstrated in the thoughtful gift his father gave him and how Standley used that gift to help others through attentive customer service.


An elusive species of fish unique to the California coast has captured the interest of Seaver College biology professor Karen Martin, her students, and the entire seaside community.
Clever content crusaders at McBeard Media are a close-knit family where nearly half of the employees are Pepperdine alumni.
Prison inmates helped Mara Leigh Taylor (MA ’03, MA ’06) find freedom and happiness.
A new book by Graziadio School of Business and Management professor Mark Allen (MBA ‘90) breaks down 13 talent management principles that serve to help corporations unleash greater potential from their employees.


Students gather at 7 a.m. on Zuma Beach to participate in Surf Chapel, a new Convocation program that takes place on the Malibu shore.


Rite Aid CEO John Standley (’85) has helped revitalize the drugstore giant using the values he gained as a student.
Religious Freedom v. United States Law: Michael Helfand champions both sides.
Christine Tinberg (’89, MS ’00) combines passions for athletics and ministry to help the blind experience the excitement of bicycling.
Steven Sawalich (’99) shines a light on organizations around the world through philanthropic docuseries Operation Change.
With an established career in traditional psychotherapy, Graduate School of Education and Psychology alumna Erin Shannon (MA ’98, PsyD ’01) also treats athletes using energy medicine.
Professional tennis player Alex Sarkissian (’14) takes tools learned at Pepperdine on the ATP Pro Tour.
Cosima Luther (’06) uses her violin to inspire disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles.
From Broadway to ballet, lighting designer Ben Pilat has gathered the tools necessary to becoming a valuable teacher.

Inside Voices

While counterintuitive, recent statistical studies note that graduates with liberal arts training are not only employable, but they ultimately “out-earn” colleagues by mid-career.

The Cut

We rounded up a list of some of this fall’s coolest classes across Pepperdine that, beyond capturing the attention of students itching for more than just another lecture, allow professors to express their own passions and spirit for the subjects.

Editor’s Letter

Thank you, Dr. Rowe, for sharing your grandfather’s story and spirit that I hope will further the healing process for people of African American descent through vehicles such as Emotional Emancipation Circles.
Beyond DNA, what makes a family a family? Perhaps it is the qualities of support, caring, empathy, trust, and loyalty that allow us to create family in many environments.