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Pepperdine names James A. Gash as new president and CEO


James A. Gash has been named the eight president and CEO of Pepperdine University, succeeding Andrew K. Benton after 19 years of service to the university associated with Churches of Christ

Gash currently serves the 7,700-student university as associate dean for strategic planning and external relations and professor of law at the Pepperdine School of Law.

“I am both humbled and thrilled to have the opportunity to build on his administration’s legacy of growth and excellence, fueled by the imagination, innovation, and creativity of Pepperdine’s talented faculty, staff, students, and alumni around the world,” said Gash.

Gash directs the Sudreau Global Justice Program at Pepperdine Law, is a Special Advisor to the High Court of Uganda, and was recently named chancellor of LivingStone International University in Mbale, Uganda.

“Jim follows in the footsteps of Pepperdine presidents before him who have demonstrated the kind of inspiration, integrity, strength and measured leadership that have made this university into the elite academy it is today,” said Ed Biggers, chair of Pepperdine’s Board of Regents.

Since 2010 Gash has visited Uganda more than 25 times with Pepperdine students to support the Ugandan judiciary and assist the country in its justice reform efforts. In 2016 he published his first book, “Divine Collision,” which chronicles how his life and the Ugandan criminal justice system were dramatically changed as a result of meeting a Ugandan teenage prisoner during Gash’s first visit to Uganda.

Biggers praised the work of the presidential search committee, led by regent Dale Brown and committee vice chair Harold Smethills. 

Gash received his bachelor’s degree in finance, summa cum laude, from Abilene Christian University in 1989 and his JD, summa cum laude, from the Pepperdine School of Law in 1993. He is married to Joline Gash, and together they have three children.

The search for a new president and CEO for the university started last March when Benton announced plans to step down.

Benton will remain with the university as president emeritus.

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