Andrew K. Benton

Dolphin - Andrew K. Benton

Longtime Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton hopes to be remembered “as someone who led with heart and conviction” as he nears retirement after 19 years at the helm of the Malibu institution. Now, the university’s academic and spiritual leader is earning a Dolphin Award, just months before his retirement.

In an interview with The Malibu Times following the announcement of the award, Benton reflected on his legacy at the university, where he has served as its longest-tenured president. He said that since his role began, the Pepperdine community has begun “speaking of themselves as family, and as supporters of each other in good times and in hard times.”

Benton, who’s often been referred to as “the students’ president,” also facilitated growth in Pepperdine’s assets and stature, including a new Pepperdine-AEG partnership, and secured around $1 billion growth in assets for the university.

Looking toward the future, Benton said, he feels his presidency has helped set Pepperdine up for long-term success, especially when it comes to bringing in acclaimed faculty.

“I think we’ve prepared the university for a pretty significant launch into even greater academic excellence,” Benton said, later adding, “Students will always be at the center of the enterprise, but I think we ought to be known as a place where teaching is honored as well as great scholarship.”