MALIBU—Pepperdine University’s President Andrew K. Benton will be retiring by the end of July. Benton was well-known for greeting incoming freshmen at a special party with his band called The Mesa Peak Band. The Mesa Peak Band included two other Pepperdine staff members Jeff Pippin who is the Senior VP and Chief Investment Officer and Chris Stivers who is a visiting assistant professor.
Benton traditionally hosted a party for an incoming 850 to 900 freshmen at his on-campus house and grounds during the last week of August. Mesa Peak would perform and host a party for graduating seniors during the first week of September. The band performed at various alumni events, fundraisers, faculty, and at the Malibu Arts Festival. They have also made appearances at the nation’s capital and in Los Angeles.
The band originally formed in 1989 and were called Mid Life Crisis. The band formed to perform at a going-away party for a fellow colleague. Throughout the years the band changed its name to The Mesa Peak Band. Mesa Peak’s repertoire consists of popular classic rock hits like, “Black Magic Woman,” “Surfin’ USA,” “Mustang Sally,” and many others. The band is named after the tallest point on Pepperdine as officially determined by the U.S. Geological Service.
Andrew or “Andy” Benton is Mesa Peak’s rhythm guitarist, vocalist, and keyboardist. Jeff Pippin is the band’s lead guitarist and will be continuing the band’s legacy with bandmate Stivers after Benton’s departure.
The band’s final performance was held Friday, July 12 next to the Village Market at Trancas. The final performance included a long set list where 12 vocalists and musicians that included a five-piece horn and saxophone section were to perform. Benton will be leaving the area once he retires.