George Pepperdine College, a Church of Christ affiliated institution of higher education in Los Angeles, California, had its foundation rocked in the 1960s by two events: The Watts Riots of 1965 and the 1969 shooting of Los Angeles youth, Larry Donnell Kimmons. These events challenged the original commitment that founder George Pepperdine had for the Los Angeles area and forever changed the future direction of George Pepperdine College (GPC). The Watts Riots served as the catalyst, generating a desire by the executive administrators of GPC to leave the perceived chaotic and unpredictable urban setting. The second event, the tragic shooting of Larry Kimmons on the college campus by a campus security guard, ignited Black Nationalist sentiment within the GPC student population and local Los Angeles community. This fervor, which manifested itself in student protests and vandalism, scared GPC administrators and justified their decision to move the institution from the founding location. This thesis will examine the early history of GPC in Los Angeles, the Churches of Christ attitude on Race Relations in American and the Social Gospel, the events surrounding the Kimmons murder and subsequent student reaction, and the actual move to Malibu which in university published material is referred to as the "Miracle in Malibu." Ultimately, this work will demonstrate that the direct and indirect consequences of the Watts Riots and the 1969 shooting of Larry Kimmons brought about the college's move to Malibu.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pepperdine College -- History; Pepperdine University -- History; School sites -- Social aspects -- California; Dissertations (MA) -- Humanities/Teacher Education

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Seaver College


Humanities/Teacher Education

Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rivas, Darlene;