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Pepperdine Mourns the Loss of Dr. Donald M. Atwater

Atwater HeadshotPepperdine mourns the loss of retired practitioner of economics Donald M. Atwater, PhD who passed away on April 4, 2023. Dr. Atwater was a caring man who touched many lives with his kindness, expertise, and service to so many. He will be dearly missed by all.

“This is very sad news. Don played such an important leadership role in the Master of Science in Global Business program and challenged students and colleagues alike to be globally minded professionals,” said Bernice Ledbetter, PhD, dean of student and alumni affairs and practitioner of organization theory and management. “Don will be dearly missed, we owe a deep debt of gratitude for the many years of steadfast service and leadership he gave to the Graziadio Business School.” 

“Don embodied our Christian mission in his work and his devotion to students. He continually turned down lucrative consulting assignments to spend more time teaching our students, first as an adjunct, and later as a practitioner faculty member,” said David M. Smith, PhD, associate provost for online learning and professor of economics. “Few faculty have shaped the culture of our residential community over the past 20 years more than Don. We were blessed by his presence, and I'm thankful I had the chance to chat with him recently about his family and how much he was enjoying life (especially as a grandpa) after Pepperdine.”

Before becoming a practitioner of economics at Graziadio, Dr. Atwater served as chief executive for a southern California technology company, the chief financial officer of an international value-added software company, a principal in the human resources and compensation practice at William M. Mercer, and a director and co-founder of several start-up companies. 

Dr. Atwater created decision-support technologies and implemented them in a number of Fortune 100 companies, including AT&T, Intel, Dell Computer, Apple Computer, and Nestle USA. Dr. Atwater also worked with many public organizations, including the U.S. Navy, the General Accounting Office, the state of California, and both the county and city of Los Angeles. 

A funeral mass will be held for Don on April 25, 2023, at 11 AM in Padre Serra Church, Camarillo, California. The mass will be live streamed at this address: https://www.padreserra.org/news/donald-michael-atwater.

In lieu of flowers, Dr. Atwater's family requests memorial donations to Rain Community, Camarillo; St. Vincent de Paul Society at Padre Serra, and the Loyola High School Class of 1996 Scholarship Fund. 

Dr. Atwater is survived by his wife, Libby.  He had a profound impact on his students and colleagues during his two decade tenure at Pepperdine. Our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to his wife, Libby, and family during this time.