Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
The Finding Aid of the David Davenport Papers 0020
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (106.13 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Processing Information note

  • Title: David Davenport papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 0020
    Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.87 linear feet (3 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1968-2000
    Abstract: The collection contains papers from David Davenport's time as president of Pepperdine University from 1985 to 2000, and includes earlier items from the president's office beginning in 1968. The collection contains donor files and subject/correspondence files on various topics. Items include mainly correspondence, photographs, and other printed materials such as brochures and reports.
    Location note: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
    Creator: Davenport, David, 1950-

    Conditions Governing Access

    Advance notice required for access.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.
    Items from the donor files will not be available for photographic reproduction.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], David Davenport papers, Collection no. 0020, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The exact date of acquisition is unknown, but it is likely the material was transferred at the conclusion of David Davenport's tenure as president of Pepperdine University in 2000.

    Biographical note

    David Davenport's tenure at Pepperdine University lasted from 1980 to 2008. He was a law and public policy professor, general counsel to the university, executive vice president, and the sixth president of the university.
    He grew up in Overland Park, Kansas. He attended Stanford University for his undergraduate work in international relations, and interned two summers in Washington D.C., serving on the staff of Senator Robert Dole and later in the Executive Office of the White House. After graduating from Stanford University, he attended the University of Kansas for his law degree, earning national and international awards in the moot court competition. He was elected to the Order of the Coif and was an editor on the Kansas Law Review.
    Davenport met his future wife, Sally Nelson, at Kansas' Overland Park Church of Christ, while he served as youth minister. They attended the University of Kansas together while he studied law and she completed her undergraduate degree in graphic design. In 1977 following graduation, the couple married on August 13, 1977, and moved to San Diego where David started work in corporate litigation for the San Diego law firm of Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye.
    While in San Diego, Davenport took a year leave of absence from the law firm to fill a temporary ministerial vacancy at the nearby El Cajon Boulevard Church of Christ. During that year, Pepperdine came to his attention and he accepted an assistant professorship at Pepperdine's School of Law in 1980. One year later, he was named general counsel for the University and promoted to associate professor. In 1983, he was named executive vice president.
    In 1985, Davenport was selected by the Board of Regents as the sixth president of Pepperdine University. He was 34 years old when he was inaugurated and had the distinction of being one of the youngest college presidents in the country at the time (Hugh Tiner and William Banowsky, other past Pepperdine presidents, did as well). His inaugural address, Lighting the Way, was given on October 21, 1985.
    Davenport took part in multiple fundraising campaigns at Pepperdine, including the Wave of Excellence campaign, and the Challenged to Lead campaign from 1992 to 2000. With his leadership, the campaigns increased Pepperdine's endowment from $56 million in 1986 to more than $386 million in 2000.
    During Davenport's time as president, many projects were undertaken, including the completion of the Thornton Administrative Center and major expansion of Payson Library; implementation of an overseas study program in Florence, Italy; the establishment of a doctor of psychology degree program and a Malibu M.B.A. program; several major building projects that involved the expansion of the Natural Science, Communication, and Business Administration Divisions; and the establishment of a fifth Pepperdine graduate school (the School of Public Policy) and its outreach arm, the Institute for Public Policy. One of the final tasks Davenport completed was the adoption of the mission statement of Pepperdine University.
    Davenport stepped down after 15 years as President in 2000. To honor his achievements, the University endowed (with the help of regent Flora Laney Thornton and others) the David Davenport Institute for Public Policy. He then served as a Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Law at Pepperdine University from 2003 to 2008, and is now a research fellow and a counselor to the director of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains papers from David Davenport's time as president of Pepperdine University from 1985 to 2000, and includes earlier items from the president's office beginning in 1968. The collection contains donor files on 11 donors and subject/correspondence files on various topics. The donor files primarily contain correspondence about gifts to Pepperdine University, but the folders also include photographs and other materials such as a partial construction layout plan of the Eddy D. Field Baseball Stadium. Some items in the donor files are dated before Davenport's presidency as a result of certain individuals' long history with Pepperdine University. The subject/correspondence files contain correspondence, brochures, photographs, and other printed material related to Davenport's interests in higher education, Pepperdine University, and Malibu.


    The collection's contents have been kept within their original folder groupings. Original folder and series titles were used to describe the materials when the titles could be deciphered. Otherwise, folder and series titles were assigned based on the contents. Folders are arranged alphabetically within each series. The collection is arranged in two series:
    Series 1: Donor Files Series 2: Subject/Correspondence Files

    Processing Information note

    The collection was processed and described by Jamie Henricks in December 2011. The finding aid was updated by Katie Richardson in July, 2013.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Davenport, David, 1950- -- Archives
    Denney, Corwin (Corwin D.), 1921-
    Deukmejian, George
    Dewey, Ray M.
    Di Loreto, Edward
    Douglas, Ione
    Eltinge, George
    Field, Eddy D.
    Getty, Gordon
    Hahn, Kenneth
    Hammer, Armand, 1898-1990
    National School Safety Center (U.S.).
    Pepperdine University. Office of the President.
    Pepperdine University. School of Public Policy.
    Pepperdine University.
    College presidents--California--Malibu
    Malibu (Calif.)--History--20th century
    Promotional films--California--Malibu
    Real estate development--California--Malibu
    Universities and colleges--California--Malibu--History