George Pepperdine was born on June 20, 1886, on a farm in Mound Valley, Kansas to a family of English heritage. Pepperdine's parents became members of The Church of Christ after experiencing a powerful conversion during a tent meeting outside of Parsons, Kansas. Pepperdine graduated from Parsons Business College in Parsons, Kansas. In 1909 at age twenty-three, Pepperdine started Western Auto Supply Company with an initial investment of five dollars. With the rise in popularity of the automobile Pepperdine's business thrived, providing high-quality automotive products and services through many retail stores. In 1907 Pepperdine married Lena Rose Baker in Kansas, and in 1916 he moved the family and business to Los Angeles due to his struggle with tuberculosis. Lena died in 1930 and Mr. Pepperdine remarried in 1934 to Helen Louise Davis.
In February 1937 during the Great Depression, George Pepperdine founded the Pepperdine University as a Christian liberal arts college in the city of Los Angeles and on September 21, 1937, 167 new students from 22 different states and two other countries entered classes on a newly built campus on 34 acres (14 ha) in South Central Los Angeles, referred to later as the Vermont Avenue campus. By April 6, 1938, George Pepperdine College was fully accredited by the Northwest Association.
Pepperdine had a desire to discover "how humanity can be helped most with the means entrusted to [his] care. [He] consider[ed] it wrong to build up a great fortune and use it selfishly." Mr. Pepperdine voiced his twofold objective for the college that bore his name, "First, we want to provide first-class, fully accredited academic training in the liberal arts ... Secondly, we are especially dedicated to a greater goal—that of building in the student a Christ-like life, a love for the church, and a passion for the souls of mankind." Pepperdine died in California in 1962.
- Aldore Collier, FaithDome: "A grand-slam homer for Jesus.", Ebony, December 1989.
- Vanessa Jahn, GSEP 35th Anniversary: A Celebratory Evening to Remember, Colleague Alumni Magazine, Spring 2006.
- Tracy Domingo, Miracle at Malibu Materialized, Graphic, November 14, 2002
- From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: plain-folk religion, grassroots politics, and the rise of evangelical conservatism; Darren Dochuk; pp. 51–52
- Faith is my fortune: a life story of George Pepperdine (1959)
- Faith was his fortune: the life story of George Pepperdine (1976)