George Pepperdine

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George Pepperdine
BornJune 20, 1886
OccupationBusinessman, philanthropist
Spouse(s)Lena Rose Baker
Helen Louise Davis.

George Pepperdine (June 20, 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 in Kansas City, Missouri 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 Archived 2008-05-04 at the Wayback Machine., Colleague Alumni Magazine, Spring 2006.
  3. ^ Tracy Domingo, Miracle at Malibu Materialized Archived 2013-01-09 at the Wayback Machine., 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]