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School of Law Celebrates Renovation

On September 6, friends of the School of Law gathered for the rededication of Henry J. and Gloria Caruso Auditorium and Lon V. Smith Atrium


“It is impossible to make law school easy, but we can make a facility that is conducive to learning and developing relationships.”

Today’s Renovation Celebration marked a milestone in the history of Pepperdine Law, and as Dean Paul Caron declared, “There is no doubt that Pepperdine Law is on the rise once again.”

More than two decades without a major construction project at the School of Law, the latest improvements are meeting the needs of our 21st-century law students and reinforcing a Pepperdine tradition of excellence. The recent 16-month renovation has infused our School of Law with a renewed sense of pride following the modernization of the Henry J. and Gloria Caruso Auditorium and Lon V. Smith Atrium and the addition of the Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Grand Staircase. We are profoundly grateful to benefactors Rick (JD ’83) and Tina Caruso and Richard Stack with the Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation for their part in making these transformational improvements possible. Integrating seamless technology and interactive student space at the heart of the School of Law, the refurbishments will serve students through increased functionality and an elevated sense of community.

“When the School of Law is doing well, the University is doing well,” remarked Senior Vice President for Advancement and Public Affairs, Keith Hinkle (JD ’97). President Benton added, “I think all of our hopes have been realized.”

Seeing the completed renovation for the first time, The Honorable James Hahn (’72, JD ’75) noted, “It makes me proud to have a Pepperdine degree when I come to a place like this.”

Student Bar Association President and third-year law student Ava Jahanvash spoke on behalf of the students and confirmed, “It was definitely worth the wait.” Ava articulated how the intentionality of the new design creates an inviting and cohesive student atmosphere: “Monday through Friday, this atrium and the classroom space is filled with passion and life. Our clubs and organizations are thriving!”

Senior Vice Chancellor and School of Law Dean Emeritus Ronald Phillips gave an honoree presentation, and Richard Stack and Rick Caruso provided benefactor responses. Dean Jim Gash (JD ’93) then delivered the dedicatory prayer. President Benton provided the closing remarks before the official ribbon cutting ceremony. Pepperdine Law will reach its milestone 50th anniversary in the coming year. The completion of this timely renovation sets the stage for the next exciting chapter in the story of Pepperdine Law.

Take a look inside the renovation project that has revitalized Pepperdine Law and will serve to strengthen our commitment to community for decades to come (video).

The School of Law administration expresses its sincerest gratitude for the patience of our students; the partnership of Facilities Services, Public Safety, and University Advancement; and the unwavering support of our entire faculty and staff during the renovation process.