Dean Emeritus Ronald Phillips is the architect of the Pepperdine University School of Law. He was its founding dean in 1970 when the school was simply a storefront night school in Orange County. Under his watch (its first 27 years!), the school was accredited by the ABA and the AALS, moved to Malibu, and transformed into a world-class law school. In my estimation, however, the most important element of the school Dean Phillips envisioned, implemented, and built is its unique atmosphere.
Last night, Dean Phillips spoke to a large number of law students at a weekly Bible study in Professor Gash’s home (aka, “Wednesday Night at the Gash’s”). This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to hear his remarkable story, along with inspiring words of wisdom.
I wrote down two quotes to share with you today:
1. When describing the dream he and his dear wife, Jamie, had for the School of Law, he said its “purpose was to glorify God in a law school setting.”
2. After mentioning that a law school dean once told his faculty to not let students interfere with their work, Dean Phillips said: “At Pepperdine, the students are our work.”