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Women Make Waves in 50For50

Twenty-one women recently became founding partners in the 50For50 fundraising campaign at Pepperdine Caruso Law. The mission of the campaign is to raise $50,000 from 50 donors to fund scholarships to alleviate the burden of student debt and and reinforce Pepperdine's place among America's leading law schools. Over the course of the last seven months and in the middle of a pandemic, Dean Paul Caron, Vice Chancellor Janet Kerr, Senior Vice Chancellor Ronald Phillips, and Assistant Vice Chancellor Rebecca Malzahn set out to raise more than $2.5 million in student scholarship support through the campaign. In March alone, eight women joined as founding partners in honor of Women's History Month.

This trend among female donors reflects a growing population of women who support the Pepperdine mission for what it means for future students. Dean Paul Caron, a founding partner himself along with his wife, Courtney, said "As the husband and father to two powerful women, I know how important it is for women to support future law students and model philanthropy for the next generation of attorneys."

In a profession where females have been historically underrepresented, the partnerships formed through the campaign represent the growing percentage of women in the legal industry. Amy Sue Leavens (JD '97), founder and president at Concierge Client Services, said "Scholarships like those being raised through Pepperdine's 50For50 campaign are critical to attracting students of the highest academic caliber to the school. I am proud to support excellence in education."

Professor Emeritus and Vice Chancellor Janet Kerr reflected "It has been such a joy to be in contact with so many incredible women who are passionate about supporting the next generation of students at Caruso Law. I am also pleased to join these women as a 50For50 partner, and I invite those interested in this campaign to partner with us."

In addition to Janet Kerr, Courtney Caron, and Amy Sue Leavens, the women listed below have likewise joined this important initiative:

  • Sheila Bost, Owner, Marriage and Family Therapy, Private Practice
  • Courtney Caron, Retired Attorney, Former Career Law Clerk
  • Tracy Cramer, General Counsel & SVP of Operations, Mathnasium
  • Michelle Hiepler (JD '89), Founding Partner, Hiepler & Hiepler
  • Janet Kerr ('75, JD '78), Professor Emeritus & Vice Chancellor, Pepperdine University
  • Amy Sue Leavens (JD '97), President, Concierge Client Services, PLLC
  • Sarah Lee, Retired Educator
  • Tammy Mager, Interior Design
  • Audrey Maness (JD '07), Assistant US Attorney, United States Department of Justice
  • Yuri Mikulka (JD '96), Partner, Alston & Bird
  • Melissa Minick, President and Chief Medical Officer at OccMD Group, P.A.
  • Jessica Mestler ('97), Founder/Partner, Design & Marketing, Death by Tequila
  • Caelan Rottman ('14, JD '18, MDR '18), Associate Attorney, Boesch Law Group; Co-Chair, Pepperdine Caruso Law Dean's Council
  • Tiffany Scalzitti Monroe (JD '99), Chief People Officer, H&R Block
  • Jen Spaziano (JD '95), Retired Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
  • Alice Starr, President & CEO, Starr Strategies Co.
  • Michelle Marie West (JD '03), Partner, Robinson, Calcagnie, Inc.; President, Orange County Trial Lawyers Charities
  • Julie Whalen ('94, JD '99), Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
  • Christa (Zofcin) Workman ('97, JD/MBA '01), Co-President & Chief Operating Officer, River Road Entertainment
  • Katie Zacharia ('07, JD '11), Former Associate, Zhong Lun Law Firm
  • Anonymous Female Donor

"We recognize that in order to alleviate the burden of debt our students face, we must create more opportunities for scholarship support" said Rebecca Malzahn, assistant vice chancellor and senior director of development for Caruso Law. "Our students are the heart and soul of this institution and there has never been a better time to support them."

There are a limited number of remaining founding partnership opportunities in the 50For50 campaign. Founding partners will be honored at an unveiling this fall. For more information about how to join the initiative, view the 50For50 video here, or contact Rebecca Malzahn at rebecca.malzahn@pepperdine.edu or 310.506.4082.