Dorothy Stotsenberg, longtime Pepperdine University benefactor, Malibu resident dies

Stotsenberg had celebrated her 97th birthday earlier this month.

Dorothy Stotsenberg, a longtime Malibu resident and benefactor to Pepperdine University, died last week Thursday. She was 97 years old.

Dorothy and her late husband Edward G. Stotsenberg have were generous supporters of Pepperdine. Their generosity made possible the Stotsenberg Track on the Malibu campus, honoring both Dorothy and Ed’s years as marathon runners and their love of the university. In addition, Dorothy lent her support to the Stotsenberg Recital Series and the Parkening Guitar Competition at the Center for the Arts. Dorothy served on the Crest Advisory Board, the Center for the Arts executive board, and was a member of Pepperdine’s prestigious Crystal Wave Society.

After enjoying careers as a writer, editor, and publicist; raising prize-winning American saddle bred horses; becoming an avid runner at 66; and devoting much of her time to the arts, philanthropy, and community organizations, the longtime Malibu resident and Pepperdine benefactor added a new title: author.

Her book “My Fifty Years in Malibu” brought her in her words, “More attention than I’ve ever had before! …I had my picture taken for the newspaper, old friends from the Los Angeles Philharmonic came to visit me, and now I have a book signing where I’ll get to see even more friends. It’s really super.”

Dorothy, who earned a master’s degree in journalism from UCLA, was a regular contributor to The Malibu Times, the Malibu Surfside News and the Santa Monica Evening Outlook. Many of the stories in “My Fifty Years in Malibu” originated as articles she wrote for the local newspaper. Proceeds from the book’s sales benefited the Dorothy Stotsenberg Journalism Scholarship at Pepperdine.

When she was 91, Stotsenberg said, “You have to keep moving; you just can’t just sit around!”

Born in Wisconsin in 1914, Dorothy’s family moved to California when she was eight and she studied journalism at the University of Washington in Seattle. While working in Yakima, Washington, after graduation, she met and married Edward G. Stotsenberg, an accountant. The newlyweds moved back to Seattle before going to Boston where her husband received his MBA from Harvard, and then to Los Angeles where he opened a private accounting firm.

In 1949, Ed and Dorothy rented their first home in Malibu, where the panoramic views of the oceans and mountains were enough to make the Stotsenbergs stop and settle down. They eventually purchased their first home in 1952 at Carbon Beach and built a home on Mulholland Highway in 1978, where Dorothy continues to reside.

When Dorothy took up Ed’s love of running in 1980, the two began running races and winning awards worldwide, from Santa Barbara to New Zealand to Puerto Rico. Without having a decent place to train in Malibu, the Stotsenbergs made a generous planned gift to fund major improvements to Pepperdine’s modest dirt track. In 1989, the University dedicated Stotsenberg Track, an Olympic-sized, eight-lane track with an all-weather surface.

Chapter 22 of “My Fifty Years in Malibu” details the impact Pepperdine had on Malibu and the impact the Stotsenbergs had on the University. Ed was a life member of the Pepperdine Associates and founding chairman of the Crest Advisory Board, of which he and Dorothy were members. Ed died in July 2000 at the age of 86, but for almost every passion the couple shared, there is a program, scholarship, or landmark at Pepperdine that carries their family name. In addition to the track and journalism scholarship, Pepperdine has welcomed 5K and 10K races bearing the Stotsenberg name, the Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition, (forerunner to the Parkening International Guitar Competition) and the Stotsenberg Recital Series at the Center for the Arts.

Memorial services are yet to be determined; an update with details will follow when information is available.

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

Related Articles



Latest Articles

%d bloggers like this: