Colleges to Attend, Part I

Posted: Dec 11, 2006 12:00 AM

Last Thursday afternoon, I was riding in a limousine past Venice Beach towards Pacific Highway One on my way to Malibu. By the time I reached Santa Monica, the sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean as I wondered whether it was possible that Heaven could actually be located somewhere in Southern California.

Somewhere along the way I also started wondering how a guy who flunked English four years in a row in high school managed to trick people into paying him large amounts of money to make fun of feminists and ride in limousines driven by registered Democrats. I also started thinking about how I needed to start my new series of columns called “Colleges to Attend.”

Before I began my speech at Pepperdine University a group of Sigma Chis introduced themselves. They thanked me for coming to the defense of fellow Sigma Chi Justin Park in my recent column (called “In Hoc Signo Vinces”). They also had a young woman with them by the name of Taylor who I thought may well have been the prettiest young girl I had ever seen. When College Republican President Katie Black entered the room I had to reconsider that assessment. To top it all off, I learned that Pamela Anderson likes to work out in the Pepperdine Gym. (Note: The preceding paragraph was read and approved for publication by Dr. Adams’ wife).

Being a fairly smart guy, I combined the new realization that very attractive people seem to hang out at the Pepperdine campus with the old realization that people don’t want to have ugly grandchildren. This led me to believe that perhaps Pepperdine would be a place where folks might want to send their children to college.

When I started my informal speech, I mentioned that I had a book coming out in 2007 tentatively called “Feminists Say the Darnedest Things.” This caused the crowd to actually break out into applause. Around the time that Katie Black started pumping her fists in approval, I realized that maybe my host’s claim of a three-to-one conservative to liberal ratio had been an understatement.

And, now that I think of it, I spotted many Bush/Cheney ’04 stickers in the parking lot without seeing a single one in support of Kerry/Edwards. Other sources such as Wikipedia have also commented on the conservative nature of the Pepperdine campus.

One of the consequences of having a largely conservative campus is that students are very tolerant of divergent opinions. The students even gave John Kerry a standing ovation after he gave a campus speech with which they largely disagreed. These Pepperdine conservatives have great character and faith that seems to foster a great deal of independent thinking.

A lot of the professors at Pepperdine are very conservative, too. Ken Starr is Dean of the Law School and many of the excellent Pepperdine economists are very conservative in their thinking. On a related note, a biology professor who attended my speech introduced himself beforehand and raved about how wonderful it is to teach at Pepperdine. Rarely does one hear a college professor say that he cannot believe he gets paid to teach at “such a wonderful place.”

It isn’t surprising that a professor would love teaching at Pepperdine. They offer faculty housing in a hillside location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is senseless for me to try to describe the beauty of the scenery those hillside homes overlook. Just log on to the university website and see for yourself.

One of the other things that impressed me about Pepperdine was the high quality of the questions students asked in the Q & A after my speech. They were not like the kids at U-Mass who skipped baths and asked stupid questions. These kids took baths and asked really good questions. I really liked that aspect of Pepperdine.

Of course, Pepperdine does have its share of problems like any university. They have a speech code that is at least occasionally invoked. But I took the time to talk with the students about how they could get rid of it. David Horowitz joined me and several Pepperdine students for dinner to offer additional advice.

It is also worth noting that an administrator from Pepperdine emailed me before the speech and offered to meet with me during my short stay. He actually stated an interest in hearing my ideas about how Pepperdine could avoid some of the campus problems I write about in my columns. Imagine that kind of interest coming from a Georgia Tech or U-Mass administrator. It’s like imagining a feminist with a three-digit IQ.

As I stood in front of the campus hotel at five in the morning looking out over the ocean and waiting for the sun to rise, I was hit by a sudden realization: The sun doesn’t rise in the West so there really wasn’t any need to get up at five in the morning.

And then another realization hit me. I noticed I was standing in a memorial garden dedicated to our fallen soldiers. Imagine something like that in the UNC system. Imagine a feminist with a three-digit IQ.

When I left the campus of Pepperdine it dawned on me that I bought the wrong kind of airplane ticket. Mine was a two-way ticket. I really should have bought a one-way ticket instead. I also left thinking that maybe heaven really is located somewhere in Southern California. And maybe sending your kids to Pepperdine is a good way to prepare them for both this life and the next.