I'm sure that there will be some things over the next few years that do not excite me about Taylor's Pepperdine experience, but for now there are a couple of things that reinforce my conviction that he made a good choice.
The first occurs this weekend with what the university calls "step-forward day". Roughly 1500 students will be spending their Saturday volunteering with Los Angeles community-based organizations - cleaning, building, serving food, working with children, etc. - and for many this is the beginning of a longer journey on which they learn how to give their strengths, talents, and gifts back to their communities.
The second is that while Pepperdine is a conservative institution - you might recall that the Dean of the Law School is Ken Starr - the administration is not afraid to invite speakers like Jim Wallis, who spoke at this past Wednesday's convocation, or Senator John Kerry, who will be speaking later this month on campus.
According to the student newspaper, Seaver College Dean David Baird said Kerry was invited to campus after the university received word that Kerry was looking for a Christian university, where he could address his own faith as an important part of his political agenda. Baird said he extended the invitation to Kerry and felt the senator’s presence could enrich campus life. “I am well aware, of course, that Pepperdine’s public image politically is conservative and Republican, but I am also aware that an educational institution that is worth its salt welcomes diverse perspectives in the public square,” Baird said.
Kudos to Pepperdine.