George Pepperdine

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George Pepperdine
Born June 20, 1886
Mound Valley, Kansas
Died 1962
Occupation Businessman, philanthropist
Spouse(s) Lena Rose Baker
Helen Louise Davis.

George Pepperdine (1886-1962) was an entrepreneur and Christian philanthropist who was the founder of Pepperdine University in California.


Early life[edit]

George Pepperdine was born on June 20, 1886, on a farm in Mound Valley, Kansas to a family of English heritage. His 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 the age of twenty-three, he 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. He moved to California in 1916.


In February 1937, during the Great Depression, he founded the Pepperdine University as a Christian liberal arts college in the city of Los Angeles. 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,[1] referred to later as the Vermont Avenue campus.[2][3] By April 6, 1938, George Pepperdine College was fully accredited by the Northwest Association.

He 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." 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."[4]

Personal life[edit]

He married Lena Rose Baker in 1907 in Kansas. She died in 1930, and he remarried in 1934 to Helen Louise Davis.


He died in California in 1962.


  1. ^ Aldore Collier, FaithDome: "A grand-slam homer for Jesus.", Ebony, December 1989.
  2. ^ Vanessa Jahn, GSEP 35th Anniversary: A Celebratory Evening to Remember, Colleague Alumni Magazine, Spring 2006.
  3. ^ Tracy Domingo, Miracle at Malibu Materialized, Graphic, November 14, 2002
  4. ^ 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)

External links[edit]