Facebook pixel Pepperdine Alumni From All Five Schools Find Connection and Community at Topgolf Event | Newsroom | Ƶ


Skip to main content

Pepperdine Alumni From All Five Schools Find Connection and Community at Topgolf Event

Topgolf Alumni Event 2024

On Wednesday, June 5, 2024, hundreds of alumni from across the University’s five schools gathered for an evening of fellowship and community bonding at Topgolf in El Segundo, California. Hosted by Alumni Affairs, the sold-out event featured lawn games, live music, a variety of complimentary food and snacks, and access to the facility’s hitting bays for the ultimate social and golfing experience. Comprising alumni from varying professional backgrounds, demographics, and generations, attendees were invited to reconnect with old friends, forge new relationships, and celebrate the robust Pepperdine alumni network. 

Alumni entering Topgolf

“More than 130,000 Pepperdine alumni from every industry around the world making a difference in their fields make up an incredibly valuable professional community,” says Matt Ebeling ('99, MS ’20), associate vice chancellor of Alumni Affairs. “This event was intended to be a celebration of the power of that network.” He adds, “While the food, music, and golfing helped facilitate a lively atmosphere, watching the hundreds of alumni from all five of Pepperdine's schools connect through a variety of shared industries, projects, and interests was far more significant. It was energizing to see so many alumni discovering that being a Wave means getting to leverage a mutually supportive professional community extending beyond their respective individual programs, cohorts, and schools.”

For many this is an annual opportunity to demonstrate their Waves pride and to spend time with their peers and Pepperdine community members. “I am a huge fan of these events,” shares Veronica Basadre (’11, MBA ’18, MDR ’22), director of online programs for the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. “I love this community and getting to connect with my friends and colleagues.” She adds, “There is a consistent effort to make this a special and fun night for attendees, and you can tell a lot of care goes into these events.” 

Alumni Helen Winter and Veronica Basadre at Topgolf event

According to Helen Winter (LLM ’17), assistant professor of law and practice at the Caruso School of Law, events such as the one held at Topgolf help to strengthen the bond alumni share and reaffirm their commitment to the University. “We’re like a family,” she says. “We want to foster those relationships and continue to belong to this beautiful community that we call Pepperdine.”

For recent graduates like Annelies Ondersma (’22), an alumni event presents an opportunity to engage with old classmates and rebuild a network of friends. “I think it’s important to stay connected to your alma mater and the people you graduated with. Because Pepperdine is such a small school, you get the privilege of establishing deeper connections. I recently moved to this area, and being able to see familiar faces is a great experience.”

As a testament to their experience as students, a number of alumni find themselves back at the University as employees with the hopes of contributing to Pepperdine's impactful legacy and reputation. Austin McElrath (’15), assistant vice chancellor for Alumni Development, believes these events are critical to building community and a perpetual appreciation for the University. “[Events like this] remind people why they love Pepperdine and what it is that makes us unique,” he says. “At the end of the day, what makes Pepperdine special is that we are a people-driven school.”

Alumni playing golf at Topgolf event

As a former president of Alumni Relations, Vivienne Williamson (’83) also views these events as an important opportunity to positively impact recent graduates and offer wisdom as they begin their professional careers. “I've always really enjoyed being a part of Pepperdine and the camaraderie,” she says. “We really make a point to help one another. It’s important for the generations that came before to help the new groups because we have gone through difficulties and can impart our knowledge and encouragement. In today’s age of AI and advancing technology, the business world can be discouraging, and we can offer ourselves as mentors. These events are important so we can let them know they aren't alone out there.”

Alumni posing for photo at Topgolf event

Though the University hosts a multitude of alumni events each year, Topgolf was an opportunity for alumni from all schools to gather together and share in their appreciation for the universal Pepperdine experience.

“I love all things Pepperdine and you will find me at all the events we have,” says Dalila Cullins (MBA ’23). “What makes Topgolf a great event is that it brings people from all the schools together and gives us all a chance to get to know each other, make new friends, and see old friends and reconnect.”