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Banowsky (William S.) Papers
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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
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Processing Information
  • Separated Materials

  • Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
    Title: William S. Banowsky Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 0002
    Physical Description: 93.63 Linear Feet (72 boxes, 3 framed objects)
    Date (inclusive): 1926-2012
    Date (bulk): 1955-1990
    Abstract: The collection contains professional and personal papers of William S. Banowsky dating from 1926 to 2012. The bulk of the materials range from 1955 to 1990 and document his professional involvement with Pepperdine University, the University of Oklahoma, Gaylord Broadcasting Company, the Texas Superconducting Super Collider Authority, and National Medical Enterprises; political topics and professional services; collected printed and written material (such as poems and articles); and personal documents including speeches, personal and family history, travel, photographs, and book research for The Malibu Miracle.
    Physical Location: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Advance notice required for access. Materials related to the Pepperdine Board of Regents and Board of Trustees (sub-series 1.5) are restricted for 50 years after their date of creation; the entire series will be open in 2026. Personal medical and financial information (sub-series 11.7 and 11.8) is restricted. Other individual files may be restricted, and are noted at the file level.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], William S. Banowsky papers, Collection no. 0002, Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries, Pepperdine University.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    William S. Banowsky donated the majority of his personal papers on December 15, 2005. Materials primarily created during his presidency at Pepperdine were transferred to the archives later. Dr. David Baird gave two boxes of material related to Banowsky's book The Malibu Miracle and three framed items on May 1, 2012. Two boxes of audio reels of speeches were given to the archives by William S. Banowsky in May 2012.

    Biographical note

    William S. Banowsky was born on March 4, 1936, in Abilene, Texas, and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. Banowsky attended David Lipscomb College on a baseball scholarship, and graduated in 1958 with a BA in Communications and History. He then moved to New Mexico, where he preached at the Netherwood Park Church of Christ, and received his MA in Communications and History from the University of New Mexico in 1959.
    After hearing Banowsky speak at a Church of Christ convention in 1958, M. Norvel Young, the President of Pepperdine College, began actively recruiting Banowsky to join the faculty. Banowsky accepted the offer, holding positions as an Assistant Professor of Communications, Assistant to the President, and Dean of Students. During this time, Banowsky also served as a minister for the South Gate Church of Christ, and began pursuing a PhD in Communications from the University of Southern California. Graduating in 1963, Banowsky took a break from the academic world and took the position of Minister at the Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas. He served there for 5 years, and also taught speech communication at Lubbock Christian College.
    In 1968, Young again recruited Banowsky back to Pepperdine, this time offering him the position of Executive Vice President. Young and Banowsky then worked together to reinvigorate the school by building a new campus in Malibu. In 1969, Banowsky became the Chancellor of Pepperdine, and led a massive fundraising effort, which enabled ground to be broken on the new campus in 1970. In 1971, Banowsky was appointed President of the university, which at age 35 made him one of the nation's youngest campus chief executives.
    Banowsky served Pepperdine as President for 10 years, leaving in 1978 to serve as the President for the University of Oklahoma, where he stayed until 1985. From 1985 to 1988, he served as the President of the Gaylord Broadcasting Company, a private broadcasting company. During his Gaylord tenure, he also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Texas Rangers and the President of the Texas Superconducting Super Collider Authority from 1987 to 1988.
    From 1988 to 1995, Banowsky was appointed the Executive Vice President of National Medical Enterprises. In 1995, he received a Master's in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine's Graduate School of Education and Psychology, and from 1995 to 2000, he served as a Counseling Minister for the Highland Oaks Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas. In 2010, Banowsky published The Malibu Miracle, a memoir about his years at Pepperdine and the establishment of the Malibu Campus.
    Throughout his career, Banowsky served on a wide variety of advisory councils and boards at both the local and national level, including the Los Angeles and California Chambers of Commerce, and the Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Education. He also served on numerous Boards of Directors for both colleges and corporations, including Coca-Cola, Fidelity Life Insurance, and the Thrifty Corporation. Banowsky has also received a number of honors, including honorary doctorates from Oklahoma Christian College (1972), Pepperdine University (1979), and Oral Roberts University (1981).
    Banowsky married his college sweetheart Gay Barnes, a professional artist, on September 7, 1956. They have four sons, David, Britton, William Jr., and Baxter, who are all attorneys.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains professional and personal papers of William S. Banowsky dating from 1926 to 2012. The collection contains chronological correspondence files; subject and correspondence files from Banowsky's office at Pepperdine University; files related to Pepperdine University boards (including the Board of Trustees and Board of Regents); Banowsky's contact cards from his office rolodex; and correspondence and other files from his jobs at the University of Oklahoma, Gaylord Broadcasting Company, the Texas Superconducting Super Collider Authority, and National Medical Enterprises. The collection also includes notes and paper and audiovisual copies of speeches and sermons; copies of poems, articles, and other material written by Banowsky (including files on The Malibu Miracle book); files of clippings about Banowsky or his jobs (called "publicity"); files on political topics; printed publications; files on travel and service on corporate boards; and recordings of oral histories. Also included are files on the Banowsky family; personal information about Banowsky (including his academic career, biographical information, and other topics); and personal and family photographs.
    Items are primarily paper, but the collection also includes photographs, negatives, framed papers, and audiovisual materials in various formats.


    The collection is arranged in thirteen series:
    Series 1: Pepperdine University Series 2: University of Oklahoma (OU) Series 3: Correspondence and Subject Files Series 4: Publicity Files Series 5: Political Files Series 6: Writings Series 7: Speeches and Speech Clippings Series 8: Service on Corporate Boards Series 9: Saved Publications Series 10: Travels Series 11: Personal and Family Files Series 12: Photographs Series 13: Audiovisual Materials

    Related Archival Materials

    Folders about William S. Banowsky are present in other collections of Pepperdine administrators, including the M. Norvel and Helen Young papers and the Howard A. White papers. An audio history of Pepperdine-owned property in Los Angeles is available in this collection, and a collection related to the sales of Pepperdine real estate is in the University Archives (the Pepperdine University Real Estate records). Other individuals interviewed for oral histories in the Audiovisual Materials series have their own collections in the University Archives, including the M. Norvel and Helen Young papers, the Earl V. Pullias papers, the Donald Miller papers, the Howard A. White papers, and the George Pepperdine Family papers (for Helen Pepperdine).

    Processing Information

    Parts of the collection were originally arranged and described by James Smythe. The collection was re-arranged and integrated with newer material, with description by Jamie Henricks and Jessica Geiser, completed in July 2012.
    File titles were not changed on existing files, but supplied when necessary. Materials originally processed by James Smythe are labeled on the folder in the style of "Folder Title, Series #, Box #, Folder #," but they are listed in the finding aid simply by their folder title and new box number. Originally, some materials were kept separate and labeled "duplicate." These extra folders were integrated, meaning that some folder numbers appear twice. In these cases, the folder from the main collection is put first, and the "duplicate" is behind.

    Separated Materials

    Issues of Pepperdine University periodicals (including the Oasis, Alumni Voice, and Pepperdine People) were separated and included with other Pepperdine University periodicals in the University Archives. Please ask for assistance in locating these items.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Administrative records
    Universities and colleges -- Administration
    College administrators -- United States -- History
    College presidents -- California -- Malibu
    Universities and colleges -- California -- Malibu -- History
    Speeches, addresses, etc., American -- 20th century
    Compact discs
    Political campaigns -- California -- History -- 20th century
    Financial records
    Education, Higher -- California -- Malibu
    Oral histories
    Malibu (Calif.) -- History