Tag Archives: pepperdine history

Governor Reagan and Pepperdine’s Malibu “birth”: Today’s featured digital object

Bill Banowsky and Ronald Reagan with Pereira's sketch of Malibu campus, 1970

With the 40th anniversary of Pepperdine University in Malibu upon us, this entry is the first in a series dedicated to the historic events and hardworking individuals that made the vision of Pepperdine in Malibu a reality and shaped its presence in this seaside community. We begin with a “birth.” Nearly two years before construction crews laid the 40-foot-deep, steel-reinforced concrete foundations of Seaver College in 1971, an event known in Pepperdine lore as the “birth of a college” dinner cemented the new college’s philosophical (and financial) foundations. Officially known as the Pepperdine College at Malibu Master Plan Announcement Dinner, the “birth of a college” dinner brought together educators, politicians, and donors on the rainy evening of February 9, 1970 to reveal the architectural plans and educational vision of the new campus. With over 3,400 people in attendance, the capacity crowd in the Century Plaza hotel spilled into the nearby Beverly Hilton, and the featured speakers shuttled between the two locations.

The keynote speaker for the event was Ronald Reagan, then governor of California and a longtime friend of Pepperdine College. President Nixon was represented by his aid, Jeb Stuart Magruder, a name later associated with the Watergate scandal. William Pereira, an architect who—already famous at the time—would go on to design the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, presented his renderings of the Malibu campus buildings. Bill Banowsky, soon to be president of the new multi-campus Pepperdine University, gave a farsighted speech about liberal arts education. Pat Boone provided the musical entertainment.

By the 1960s, Pepperdine College had outgrown its location in southeastern Los Angeles, and social unrest in the area spurred the hunt for a new undergraduate campus. The “birth of a college” dinner marked a pivot point in Pepperdine’s history. The undergraduate campus was reborn in Malibu and the original “urban campus” became the graduate school for education and professional studies, with students serving as teachers in the local community. Pepperdine became a university.

Governor Reagan’s twenty-minute speech at the event lauds the importance of independent colleges and warns against an overemphasis on faculty research at the expense of actual teaching. His speech also invokes the milieu of 1970, with references ranging from student activism to the LA Rams. Reagan concludes:

“Let no one carelessly dismiss our obligation to the independent colleges and universities, which are so much a part of the educational tapestry of America. Without them, I promise you that tapestry would soon become a very simple fabric of great monotony and very little color.”

The “birth of a college” dinner is well documented in our Pepperdine Digital Collections. Over one hundred photographs capture the events of the evening and those in attendance. Put faces to the names that grace the buildings of Seaver College: Charles Payson, Fritz Huntsinger, Richard Scaife, Mildred Phillips, George Elkins, and, of course, Blanche Seaver. You can view selected highlights or, if you wish, the complete collection. You can also listen to Ronald Reagan’s speech or a recording of the entire event. Enjoy.

October is American Archives Month!

In addition to celebrating the American record, archives month also raises awareness among the general public regarding the value of archives and archivists. Over the past few years, Pepperdine University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives has participated in the annual Archives Bazaar to promote such awareness. The event celebrates the diversity of Southern California’s history by bringing together archives, archivists, scholarly researchers, journalists, history buffs, and those simply interested in exploring the history of Southern California in one central location at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library on Saturday, October 27, 2012, from 9am to 5pm.  The event is FREE and open to the public.

This year, the Rindge and Adamson Family Papers from Special Collections and University Archives, will be featured in the session “A Very Quick Tour of Los Angeles Area Archives.” Here is the description of the session:

“Just as speed dating brings together lonely hearts, this quick-paced series of 5-minute presentations will help connect scholars, students, and history buffs with the archival collections they need. More than a dozen L.A. as Subject members will share one notable item from their archives as a way of introducing their collections. Bring a notepad, watch the presentations, and then head down to the exhibition hall for a second date.”

Special Collections and University Archives will also have a booth at the event so stop by and say hi to learn more about the history of the university as well as the region!

For more information about the event please visit the Archives Bazaar website or contact Katie Richardson at katie.richardson@pepperdine.edu

Click here to view the Archives Bazaar Poster


Today’s featured digital object: Pepperdine’s 1987 Rose Parade float

As Founder’s Day 2012 draws to a close Pepperdine University’s 75th anniversary celebration, we thought we’d revisit another great milestone in Pepperdine’s history, it’s 50th anniversary celebrations from 1987. One of the crowning achievements of those celebrations was Pepperdine’s entry of a float into the 98th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. The theme of the float was “The Quest for Atlantis,” a Classical theme reflecting Pepperdine’s quest for academic excellence. Pepperdine Digital Collections is pleased to announce the launch of a new digital collection that captures this moment in Pepperdine’s history: Pepperdine’s Rose Parade Photo Album.

The collection is based on a selection of photographs, both formal and candid, digitized from a photo album provided by Hung Le, one of the eight students chosen to ride on the float as representatives of Pepperdine. Each photo tells a piece of Pepperdine’s Rose Parade story, from the genesis of the idea, to the hours of float decorating, to the parade itself. Based on an oral history with Hung Le, now Associate Vice President and University Registrar at Pepperdine, it’s a story about our university coming together as a community to celebrate a milestone—much as we have this last year with the 75th anniversary. This collection also offers a fascinating look behind the scenes at the Rose Parade, an annual 2-hour event that requires months of planning and preparations.

Click the link above to browse the collection. Enjoy!

When the Olympics came to Pepperdine: Today’s featured digital object

As the 2012 Summer Olympic Games open in London, we look back to 1984 when the Olympics came to Los Angeles and the Malibu campus of Pepperdine University. Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool served as the site for all of the water polo matches, bringing international attention to Pepperdine University. At a poolside press conference in February 1982, Olympic organizers made it clear that the selection of Pepperdine for the events owed in part to the great beauty of its surroundings.

Players and coaches rally during an Olympic water polo match at Pepperdine, 1984

Pepperdine did not disappoint. Runnels Memorial Pool was temporarily transformed into a first rate Olympic venue, complete with grandstands, souvenir shops, and vistas of the Pacific. The US National Team, featuring Pepperdine alumnus Terry Schroeder, played hard, beating out ten other teams to win the silver medal. Schroeder went on to play in several Olympic games and is now head coach of the Pepperdine men’s water polo team.

In the photo to the right, from the University Archives Photograph Collection, the drama of the match is captured in the excitement of the players and coaches cheering their teammates on from the pool’s edge. Schroeder is on the far left and head coach Monte Nitzkowski is center, left.

As you cheer on the US teams in this year’s Summer Olympics, take a moment to look back at photographic highlights from Pepperdine’s moment in the Olympic sun.

The Torches Are Lit Again: New Olympic Exhibit in Payson Library

The 2012 Summer Olympics are coming!  The games begin July 27th and run through August 12th, with most events in London, and others around the south of England and the United Kingdom.

In light of the 2012 summer games, Special Collections and University Archives pulled materials from the vault to showcase during the month leading up to the opening ceremonies.  A special new exhibit about the 1984 Summer Olympics is ready for viewing across from the circulation desk in Payson Library! Stop by to get a glimpse of photographs, one of the 1984 Olympic torches, tickets, and other items.


(The venue area seen at night, with refreshment area to the left, and pool to the right.  Click the image to view it larger.)

Traveling back to the 1984 Summer Olympics, hosted in Los Angeles, some may be surprised to find out that the water polo matches were hosted at Pepperdine University’s own Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool!  President Howard A. White was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to Pepperdine.  The Olympic torch relay passed through Malibu and a party was held in the middle of the night to welcome the torch.  (BBC News has a torch timeline with pictures, descriptions, and trivia available for all torches used from 1936 to the present!  Very neat!)


(President Howard A. White stands with the 1984 Olympic mascot, Sam the Eagle.  Click the image to view it larger.)

Pepperdine students, alumni, and coaches have participated in many Olympics, including Terry Schroeder, who played water polo for Team USA in the 1984 Summer Olympics.  A list of Pepperdine individuals involved with the Olympics since 1956 may be found on the Pepperdine University Athletics site.


(Team USA plays Brazil at Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool.  Click the image to view it larger.)

Curious to know where sports popular in Malibu will take place in London?  Beach volleyball will be at a temporary stadium in the Horse Guards Parade.  Horse Guards Parade is a large open parade ground in the center of London where the queen’s mounted guards perform the Trooping of the Colour – the grounds share a wall with 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister lives.  5,000 tons of sand were trucked in for the games!  Water polo will be at a new venue in the Olympic Park – the first time water polo has had its own arena built specifically for the event.  The structure was built with sustainability in mind: the roof is made of inflatable, recyclable PVC; the seating was rented; and the entire arena will be dismantled after the Olympics.

Multiple archival collections held in the Special Collections and University Archives have materials related to the 1984 Olympics, including the Howard A. White papers, the M. Norvel and Helen Young papers, and the University Photographs.  For more information about these collections, or to set up an appointment to see the items up close, please email specialcollections@pepperdine.edu.

Did you know?
Facts from the 1984 Summer Olympics

  • 6,829 athletes from 140 countries participated in the Summer Olympics.
  • Synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, and wind surfing debuted as new Olympic events.
  • President Ronald Reagan officially opened the games.
  • Mary Lou Retton became the first gymnast outside Eastern Europe to win the gymnastics all-around competition.
  • Future Dream Team members Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Chris Mullin were on the team that won the gold medal in basketball.
  • Sam the Olympic Eagle was the mascot of the 1984 Olympic Games.
  • The United States finished with the most medals followed by Romania, West Germany, and China. The Soviet Union and other Communist and Socialist countries boycotted the games in retaliation for the U.S. led boycott of the 1980 games in Moscow.

Interested in doing sports research off campus?  Visit the LA84 Foundation online or in person — their headquarters are in Los Angeles a few miles away from the University of Southern California (USC), and their library houses a largest collection of sports information in North America.

A historic debate on free love and morality: Today’s featured digital object

Anson Mount, William Banowsky, and Hugh Hefner in 1967

What’s this, you say? Former Pepperdine University President Bill Banowsky standing—all smiles—with Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner? What occasion could have produced such strange bedfellows? The answer lies in our new digital collection of Historic Sound Recordings. On October 8, 1967, Dr. Banowsky, then minister of the Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, engaged in a much-publicized debate with Anson Mount, the religion editor for Playboy, on the topic of sex and morality. The photo above—with Mr. Mount on the left—was used to publicize the event.

Billed as a “clash of philosophies” between “Christianity and hedonism,” the debate was held in Lubbock before an audience of 3000 college students. As the moderator suggests, the event showcased “two perspectives on how 1967 should be,” as Mr. Mount argued for a humanist approach to sex based on situation ethics and Dr. Banowsky countered with a Christian perspective. As he put it during the debate: “I am affirming the moral principles of Christ, which honor the power, and majesty, and beauty of sex as the sacred, limited, exclusive gift of married love.”

For Dr. Banowsky, who had already expressed an interest in returning to Pepperdine to oversee the move to Malibu, the debate was a catalytic moment in his meteoric career. Within four years he became President of Pepperdine University at the age of 34.

The recording of the debate is at once historic and timeless—it captures the public discourse on morality typical of the late 1960s, while maintaining relevance for today’s listener. It is a frank, well-articulated, and thought provoking discussion on both sides of the issue. You can listen to this debate in its entirety in our digital collection of Historic Sound Recordings. Enjoy.

New digital collection of historic sound recordings

Historic Sound Recordings

Pepperdine University Libraries is pleased to announce the release of our latest digital collection. The Historic Sound Recordings collection features streaming recordings of memorable speeches and significant events that chart the history of Pepperdine University and, more broadly, Southern California. The collection includes archival recordings ranging from political speeches and debates on morality, to musical performances and lectures on history. Prominent speakers include past Pepperdine presidents, including M. Norvel Young, William S. Banowsky, and Howard White, as well as national figures, such as Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, and singer Pat Boone. This initial launch features recordings of six different events, but the collection will grow over the coming months as we continue to digitize the aural history of Pepperdine. Check it out and enjoy.

10,000th photo added to digital photograph archive!

The Digital Initiatives division of Pepperdine University Libraries recently noted another milestone: we added the 10,000th digitized photograph to the University Archives Photograph Collection. As one of our flagship digital collections, the University Archives Photograph Collection has been growing steadily over the last two years, thanks in large part to the effort of diligent, dedicated, and enthusiastic student workers.

Digitized photo number 10,000

And what snapshot of Pepperdine history does photo number 10,000 provide? It’s a rather unassuming photograph of a man at a lectern leading the Pledge of Allegiance. This patriotic ritual is as good an image as any to represent the visual history of our institution afforded by this digital collection.

The man is question is Thomas Kemp, the CEO of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, who would later serve the Board of Regents of Pepperdine University as vice-chairperson. Kemp led the Pledge of Allegiance, as seen here, at the 1983 Private Enterprise Award dinner, an annual event sponsored by Pepperdine University’s Center for American Private Enterprise. Kemp’s brother, Jack Kemp—who would later serve as Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996—gave the keynote address that evening.

Special thanks to Lindsey Gant and all past student workers for helping us achieve this milestone.

Our Changing Library: Today’s featured digital object

Payson Library in 1982

If you’re a regular to Payson Library, the image to the right may seem at once familiar and oddly out of place. This is a semi-outdoor stairway that used to lead upstairs from the Pendleton Learning Center to the first floor of the library—a skylight opened overhead and a decorative screen separated the stairs from the first floor entrance just outside. There was no stairway here to the second floor, which at the time was home to university administration offices accessed directly by a footbridge to the parking lot.

An historic capital campaign in the mid-1980s—the Wave of Excellence Campaign—gave us the Charles B. Thornton Administrative Center, allowing Payson Library to reclaim its second floor amidst massive library-wide renovations. In 1987, Payson Library emerged greatly expanded with a new, distinctive northern (mountainside) entrance and an infrastructure better designed for the computer era. This is the Payson Library we know today.


Proposed design for Payson Library entryway

Now, nearly four decades after Pepperdine’s arrival in Malibu, we find ourselves in the midst of another ambitious capital campaign, the Campaign for Pepperdine. A portion of these funds is designated for the renovation of Payson Library based on the belief, as expressed by President Andy Benton, that “a university cannot rise higher than the quality of its libraries.” The goals for the campaign include a new Learning Commons, a Special Collections and Archive wing, and a new second floor entrance that connects the library to Mullin Town Square (above). The result will be a library reimagined as the new student union—a third space between the dorm and the classroom for students to study, collaborate, and socialize.

On the eve of this exciting transformation, we invite you to explore the Payson Library of days past. Click here to view a selection of photos from the University Archives Photograph Collection that capture Payson Library before the 1987 remodel. See if you can spot the differences.

Enjoy.

Reagan’s Redwood: Today’s featured digital object

Nancy and Ronald Reagan dedicate a redwood sapling at Pepperdine, 1973

If you’re admiring a tree during a walk around Pepperdine University’s Malibu campus, be sure to look down to avoid tripping over the small metal sign—usually affixed to a boulder—that bears the personal name of the tree or its donor. If you’ve ever wondered why so many of the trees around campus come with their own nametags etched in stone, there’s a simple answer. This land acquired by Pepperdine in 1968, although beautiful, was devoid of trees; the grassy meadow adorned with wild flowers receded into shrub-covered mountains.

To provide further shade and beauty to the newly built campus in 1972, Pepperdine launched its “Trees for Pepperdine-Malibu” campaign designed to attract arboreal transplants and sponsors for new saplings. One of the most famous donations was a large coral tree that required a decree from Governor Ronald Reagan to close down a portion of the Pacific Coast Highway for its overnight move from the Hollywood apartment complex where it resided.

On January 13, 1973, midway through the first year of classes in Malibu, Governor Reagan visited campus to donate a tree himself. In his first official visit to the Malibu campus, Governor Reagan, together with Nancy, planted a redwood sapling during a small ceremony that included guests ranging from Frank Shakespeare, the outgoing director of the United States Information Agency, to Jim Nabors, the actor best known for portraying Gomer Pyle on television. William S. Banowsky, Pepperdine’s new President, oversaw the event, which was followed by a reception in the Tyler Campus Center and a tour of Payson Library. The group also toured the Brock House, which at the time was not much more than a construction site.

Reagan's redwood tree today

Reagan’s tree was originally planted at the approximate spot now occupied by the Ahmanson Fine Arts Center courtyard. With the expansion of these facilities, the redwood was relocated to its current location, situated between Seaver Drive and the main Seaver parking lot.

You can browse a selection of highlights from Reagan’s tree dedication ceremony in the digital University Archives Photograph Collection.

Enjoy.