Yesterday marked my two year anniversary as dean of Pepperdine Law School. It has been an absolute joy and privilege to serve in this role. My love for this university and its people has only grown since my first day on the job. My second year was marked by wild swings from gut-wrenching lows to joyful highs.
Our community was scarred by the November 7 death of Seaver College freshman Alaina Housley in the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill, followed the next day by the Woolsey fire that caused massive destruction in Malibu but spared the Pepperdine campus.
Pepperdine was closed for seventeen days, and when we reopened on November 26 I was at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute having emergency surgery for detached retinas in both of my eyes. As I wrote two days later, Pepperdine Law Rises From The Ashes: Better, Stronger, United.
For the second year in a row, we made great progress on our strategic priorities as we:
- increased the academic credentials of our incoming 1L class
- lowered our acceptance rate
- increased our full-time, long-term, JD-required/advantaged job placement
- secured more than $10,000,000 in gifts to the law school
- received additional scholarship support from the University to help defray the cost of law school
- secured the second lowest tuition increase in the law school’s history
- increased the resources devoted to our students’ educational experience
In addition, we were the only California law school to increase its pass rate on the California bar exam; received the highest nationwide reputation score in our history among law school faculty and deans; and increased our nationwide reputation score among lawyers and judges.
All of this contributed to increasing our U.S. News ranking to #51 (from #72 two years ago).
And then, to top off a remarkable year, my dear friend and associate dean Jim Gash was named President of Pepperdine University, effective August 1.
We had much to be thankful for and to celebrate at Pepperdine Law this Spring. We did so in four memorable events:
March 29 Roast of Jim Gash:
March 30 Law School Dinner:
May 16 Baccalaureate Service:
May 17 Graduation:
I am very proud of what we have achieved together thus far, and I am eager to continue our journey to achieve our shared ambitious goals for the law school.