Seventy-two hours have passed since we announced the renaming of our law school to honor Rick Caruso and his transformative gift — a $50 million gift made through The Caruso Family Foundation and a pledge by Rick to help us raise an additional $50 million over the next decade. I grow even more grateful with each passing hour for the generosity of Rick and his wife Tina, as I see the galvanizing impact of the gift on our community of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends. The excitement stems from the anticipation of both the amazing things we will be able to do with these additional resources and the radiating energy from having Rick Caruso's name on our law school. I tried to capture both of these elements in my remarks at Wednesday's ceremony:
Welcome, everyone, and thank you for being here to share in the excitement of a truly historic day for Pepperdine Law.
Pepperdine Law has risen further and faster than any law school in America.
Orange University College of Law opened in 1964 as the first law school in Orange County to serve the needs of local students who wanted to practice law in Orange County.
That law school became Pepperdine University School of Law and held its first day of classes under the new name on September 8, 1969.
Nine years later, the law school moved from a strip mall and office building in Orange County to our spectacular campus in Malibu, where this year we are celebrating our 50th anniversary as the Pepperdine University School of Law.
We have come a long way, and not only in terms of location. We now recruit students from around the country and around the world. Our 10,000 alumni live and work in all 50 states and in 61 countries.
During our 18,305 days as the Pepperdine University School of Law, generations of faculty and staff, united by our love of God, love of our students, and love for each other, have provided a one-of-a-kind legal education that combines excellence and faith in a one-of-a-kind community that is welcoming to all.
For 18,305 days, our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to both train students in the law and forge their character to equip them to be leaders in their workplaces and in their communities. With each passing day, we have strengthened our academic program and reputation for excellence and deepened our faith commitment.
We now have two programs—the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and the Sudreau Global Justice Program—recognized as the preeminent programs of their kind in the nation. Our faculty is the most ideologically diverse in the country and includes nationally recognized scholars and teachers who shape the law and shepherd our students.
The result is that Pepperdine University School of Law now has the second-highest ranking in its 50-year history, and our reputation among academics is the best in our history.
We are here today not merely to celebrate our 18,305 days as Pepperdine University School of Law, but also to celebrate our first day as Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Rick Caruso and Pepperdine University President Jim Gash.
Today, when the country and the world are in greater need of Pepperdine-trained lawyers, counsellors, and peacemakers than ever before, we celebrate the historic $50 million gift from Rick and his wife Tina that will equip us to rise even higher. We will have the resources to attract more talented students who otherwise would not be able to afford a life-changing Pepperdine legal education, and to reduce our students’ financial burden through expansion of our scholarship and loan forgiveness programs. We will have the resources to increase the rate at which our graduates pass the bar and pursue rewarding legal careers. And we will have the resources to hire additional talented faculty and provide greater support for our faculty’s work.
As important as this $50 million gift is to the future of our law school, even more important is the name that is going on our law school today and the person who will partner with us in the coming years. I can think of no single person who better embodies the character of our law school. Rick Caruso’s work and his life epitomize excellence, faith, and community. Rick’s agreement to join hands with us over the next decade to raise an additional $50 million will enable us to continue and expand these initiatives to secure Pepperdine’s place among America’s leading law schools.
On behalf of the Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law, I want to thank Rick for his incredible generosity, his embrace of our unique mission in legal education, and his steadfast support and friendship.
Now, please welcome President Jim Gash as he extends his appreciation to Rick Caruso on behalf of Pepperdine University.