Pepperdine names new deans

Pepperdine University recently appointed new deans to its Law and Public Policy graduate schools and to Seaver College.

Richardson R. Lynn has been named dean of the School of Law, James Wilburn dean of the School of Public Policy and David Baird dean of Seaver College.

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr was to have filled the law and public policy school posts, but withdrew from the deanships because his investigation of President Clinton was continuing past the time he had hoped to start work at the university.

The three new deans told The Malibu Times about their goals for the schools. All three visions reflect an intertwining of academic and spiritual ideals.

Lynn, who has been interim dean of the law school for a year, said that in addition to raising the school’s national profile, the school’s most important goal is to continue to turn out highly competent, ethical and empathetic lawyers.

“The accessibility of our faculty to students and their willingness to help students, not just with academic matters but with other problems in their lives, sets a great example for the students,” Lynn said. “Then they can be better servants to their clients, rather than mere legal technicians.”


Wilburn has headed the public policy school, the university’s newest graduate school, since September 1996. He noted that the core curriculum, which highlights solutions outside the federal government, is quite unique in its emphasis on ethics and the moral foundations of democratic institutions.

“Most other programs are more heavily based on statistical analysis and less on the philosophical understanding of what free institutions are all about,” Wilburn said.

Baird, formerly chair of Seaver College’s Humanities and Teacher Education Division, has been hailed by the university for his vision of integrating faith and learning. He said, “By integrating faith and learning, we mean that in classroom, research and co-curricular activities, faculty and staff intentionally bring their Christian intellects to bear on the substance of their disciplines and activities. It assumes that a university with a Christian mission by definition is obliged to ask questions and seek answers about the human condition, which universities with other missions would find difficult to ask and pursue.”

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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