The Finding Aid for the George Pepperdine College records 0087

Finding aid prepared by Jamie Henricks and Lindsey Gant
The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA, 90263-4786
(310) 506-4434
March 2013

Title: George Pepperdine College records
Identifier/Call Number: 0087
Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
Physical Description: 8.25 linear feet (7 boxes)
Date: 1937-1970s
Abstract: The collection contains materials produced by and related to George Pepperdine College. Items in the collection include school records; recruitment material; memorabilia; publicity and newspaper clippings; programs; college history; photographs of educational departments, university events, and student life; scrapbooks; and other printed materials. Materials in the collection range from 1937 to the early 1970s.
Location note: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
Language of Materials: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], George Pepperdine College records, Collection no. 0087, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were gathered from University Archives files.

Historical note

George Pepperdine College was founded by George Pepperdine, a businessman from Kansas who founded the Western Auto Supply Company. He made his fortune in the auto supply business and moved to Los Angeles in 1916. Mr. Pepperdine was approached in 1937 by a friend, Hugh Tiner (a fellow member of the Churches of Christ and supervisor of Los Angeles County high schools), asking for help starting a Christian college on the west coast. George Pepperdine and Hugh Tiner met with Dr. Batsell Baxter (former president of Abilene Christian University and David Lipscomb College) in February 1937, and decided to create a four-year liberal arts college with teachings based in the Christian faith.
They decided on a property in Los Angeles on 79th Street and Vermont Avenue, and George Pepperdine College opened on September 21, 1937 (the date is commemorated annually as Founder’s Day) after only seven months of construction. Approximately 2,000 people came to the school’s opening, with the California governor and Los Angeles Mayor speaking, in addition to Mr. Pepperdine and Dr. Baxter (the college’s first president).
The campus was formerly a 34-acre estate, with the main home being turned into the President’s House. Two dormitories, an administration, and a dining hall were the first four buildings built. The school adopted the colors blue and orange and the nickname "Waves" was suggested by Dr. Baxter. The school newspaper, The Graphic, also began in 1937 (its name incorporating the initials GPC for George Pepperdine College).
The first commencement graduated four students. Dr. Baxter only stayed as Pepperdine’s president for two years, until June, 1939, when Hugh Tiner took over as President. By 1944, the first graduate degree was being offered (a MA in Religion). After World War II, many returning soldiers enrolled at Pepperdine. The number of students increased to 1,830 students in 1949. President Tiner resigned in 1957 and was replaced in July by M. Norvel Young, a former Pepperdine professor and well-known Churches of Christ pastor, previously at Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas.
Enrollment increased from approximately 1,000 students in 1957 to approximately 1,500 students in 1966. Extension programs for distance education opened around the country and on military bases around the world, starting in 1958. By 1963, the Year-in-Europe program was established to give students the opportunity to study abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. (Other locations in other countries were added later.)
By 1968, the administration began looking to expand Pepperdine beyond its Los Angeles campus and selected a site in Malibu donated by the Adamson family. William S. Banowsky became the next president in 1971. January 1, 1971, was when Pepperdine officially became a university. In the fall of 1972, the Malibu campus was opened to students. Other programs off campus were added, such as the School of Law, School of Continuing Education, the Graduate School, and others.
Enrollment declined and programs were dropped on the Los Angeles campus after the Malibu campus opened. Eventually, the Los Angeles college of letters, arts, and sciences (reorganized as the School of Professional Studies) was closed down after the 1980-1981 school year. The Los Angeles Campus was sold in part for housing development, but most of the property is used by the Crenshaw Christian Center church.
Historical information taken from information gathered from the University Archives as well as from the Pepperdine History page (

Scope and Content

The collection contains materials produced by and related to George Pepperdine College, before Pepperdine became a university. Items in the collection include school records (such as grade books for a range of classes from the late 1930s; a physical plant survey of campus buildings with construction information and photographs; registrar schedules for a range of classes; a manual of standard procedures; policy and organization manuals; The Graphic statement of ownership; work study application forms; and a ten year building plan from 1960-1970); recruitment material (such as a copy of Speech Activities magazine advertising courses at Pepperdine; and materials for a range of academic programs, such as brochures, flyers and applicant instructions); publicity and newspaper clippings (about campus events, individuals, and issues including the Larry Kimmons shooting case); chapel bulletins from 1959 to 1961; college historical information (including the chain of title of the Pepperdine land, a history of buildings on campus, and other papers); committee meeting minutes (for the GPC Departmental Council, Curriculum Committee, and Scholarship and Academic Life Committee); and other printed materials.
Other items include memorabilia (including decals and stickers); photographs (of subjects such as coaching clinics, gifts, educational departments, debates, conferences, the Delores statue, Normandy Village, registrar, religious life, musical groups, campus life, building constructions, campus buildings, and the intersection of 79th and Vermont at 5-year intervals between 1920 and 1940); VHS and DVD copies of the film 21 Years (an advertising film describing Pepperdine's history after 21 years of being open); and six scrapbooks (on general college topics as well as specific departments including the music department, and one commemorative scrapbook showing Mercury cars around Pepperdine). Materials in the collection range from approximately 1937 to the early 1970s.


The collection is organized in the following series: Series 1. Printed Materials; Series 2. Photographs; Series 3. Film -- 21 Years; and Series 4. Scrapbooks.

Processing Information note

The collection was arranged and described by Jamie Henricks and Lindsey Gant in March, 2013.

Related Archival Materials

Photographs, negatives, and slides related to George Pepperdine College (such as commencements, events, individuals, and other topics) can also be found in the Pepperdine University Archives Photographs, Negatives, and Slides 0031, or online via the Pepperdine Digital Collections, in the University Archives Photograph Collection ( Annual reports from George Pepperdine College can be found in the Pepperdine University Annual Reports 0071. University publications created at George Pepperdine College can be found in the Pepperdine University Archives Publications 0064. Materials related to student life at George Pepperdine College can be found in the Pepperdine University Student Life collection 0079.
Materials from Pepperdine's move to the Malibu campus, other schools (such as graduate programs or extension programs), or materials about the Los Angeles campus after approximately 1972 can be found in other University Archives collections, including the Pepperdine University School of Professional Studies records 0092 (which contains materials about the Los Angeles campus between 1972 and 1981). Materials from the 1937 to 1971 time period can also be found in the M. Norvel and Helen Young papers 0014, Howard A. White papers 0010, George Pepperdine family papers 0026, James L. Lovell papers 0011, Earl Vivon Pullias papers 0009, Hugh Marvin Tiner papers, and other collections.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Pepperdine College.
Fliers (Printed matter)
Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Los Angeles (Calif.)--History
Universities and colleges--California--History

Box 1-2

Series 1: Printed Materials

Box 2-3

Series 2: Photographs

Box 3

Series 3: Film -- 21 Years

Box 4-7

Series 4: Scrapbooks