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Your Guide to Pepperdine University: A Gem by the Pacific

Your Guide to Pepperdine University: A Gem by the Pacific

Discover the unique experiences and activities that set Pepperdine University apart, from serene reflection spots to exhilarating locales. Team


3 min read

September 28, 2023

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Nestled on the picturesque coastline of Malibu, California, Pepperdine University offers students breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean amidst its sprawling 830-acre campus. The sprawling, scenic campus is more than just a visual delight; it's a convergence of academic excellence, spiritual development, and a community that thrives on research, culture, and leadership as a private research institution, 

History and Highlights

Founded in 1937 by entrepreneur George Pepperdine in South Los Angeles, the university initially served 167 students. It was not until 1972 that the institution moved to its present Malibu campus. Over the years, Pepperdine University has grown exponentially in both numbers and reputation.

What sets Pepperdine apart? The university is renowned for its dedication to academic excellence within a faith-based context. Courses and programs are meticulously crafted to incorporate rigorous academia and Christian focus, creating a unique blend of scholarship and spirituality.

Today, Pepperdine is recognized for a range of academic programs. Its law school, for instance, is frequently noted for its dispute resolution program, which has been consistently ranked among the best in the country. The Graziadio Business School is another feather in Pepperdine's cap, celebrated for its emphasis on ethical leadership and entrepreneurial thinking.

Malibu is one of California's best seaside areas filled with green natural beauty.

Campus Life: Transportation, Food, and Local Spots

For students without a car, fear not. While the hilltop location of Pepperdine offers panoramic views of the Pacific, it also means getting around requires a bit of planning. Thankfully, Pepperdine provides a shuttle service, "The Malibu Wave", which ferries students to local shopping areas, nearby beaches, and other popular spots. Plus, with Los Angeles just a drive away, the broader treasures of the city — from art to cuisine to entertainment — are within reach for those weekend excursions.

Pepperdine's dining options cater to a range of palates and preferences. On-campus eateries offer everything from grab-and-go snacks to sit-down meals. The Waves Café, the main dining hall, provides an assortment of options, and students can always find a hearty meal or a quick snack. For those looking to venture off-campus, Malibu's culinary scene is teeming with choices. From gourmet seaside restaurants to cozy cafes, there's a dish for every craving.

While academic life at Pepperdine is bustling, the surroundings offer students ample opportunities to relax and rejuvenate. First and foremost, the beaches! Zuma Beach and Malibu Lagoon State Beach are local favorites, providing a sun-soaked respite from studies.

For nature enthusiasts, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a haven. Hiking, horseback riding, or simply soaking in the beauty of the California landscape — there's plenty to explore. Art aficionados can revel in the Getty Villa, an art museum that specializes in ancient Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. Its architecture, gardens, and the vast collection make it a must-visit.

The campus and area surrounding Pepperdine University is stunning.

Top 5 Activities at and Near Pepperdine University

At Pepperdine University, life isn't just confined to lectures, books, and exams. The picturesque locale and the vibrant community atmosphere ensure that students have plenty to explore and experience both on and off the campus. Here's a list of the top 5 activities that make the Pepperdine experience truly unique:

1. Heroes Garden Reflection

Located atop a hill on the Pepperdine campus, the Heroes Garden is a serene 14,880-square-foot space dedicated to the alumni who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks. Offering a panoramic view of the Pacific, it's the perfect spot for reflection, meditation, and to gather one's thoughts.

2. Attend Waves Weekend

Every fall, Pepperdine welcomes its students, alumni, and their families for the Waves Weekend – a signature event filled with reunions, music, games, and fireworks. Whether you're cheering for the homecoming game or enjoying the carnival rides, it's an occasion that encapsulates the spirit of the Pepperdine community.

3. Surf at First Point, Malibu

Just a short drive from the campus, First Point in Malibu is a world-renowned surf spot. Whether you're a seasoned surfer or a beginner eager to ride your first wave, the experience of surfing with the iconic Malibu Pier in the backdrop is unmatched.

4. Explore Malibu Creek State Park

For those who love nature, Malibu Creek State Park offers hiking trails that meander through beautiful terrains, leading to the famous MAS*H filming location. A day trip here promises adventure, exercise, and a brush with Hollywood history.

5. Watch a Performance at Smothers Theatre

Art and culture enthusiasts need not venture far. The Smothers Theatre, located on Pepperdine's campus, hosts a range of performances throughout the year, from music concerts to theater. It's a cultural hub that showcases both student talents and visiting artists.

Pepperdine University isn't just an institution; it's an experience. From tranquil spots on campus like the Heroes Garden to the exhilarating waves of Malibu's beaches, the university offers a blend of academic rigour and recreational delight. These activities, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Pacific, make Pepperdine not just a place to study, but a place to grow, explore, and create memories that last a lifetime.

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