Dean Shares Tragic News of Seaver Student Passing

January 2, 2016  | 2 min read

January 2, 2016


Dear Pepperdine Community,


I am deeply saddened to inform you of the tragic loss of a member of our Pepperdine family. Daniela Benavides was killed in a car accident on the morning of January 1, 2016, while she was at home for the holidays in Key Biscayne, Florida. 


We offer our deepest condolences to Daniela’s family, friends, and loved ones. She was very loved in our community. Her resident advisor in White House, Jenna Powell, shared that Daniela “knew how to live life to the fullest and passed that on to anyone she got the chance to talk to. Even though she was only with us for a short time, she impacted everyone she came in contact with forever with her bright spirit, her contagious laugh, and her kindness. She is so loved and will be so missed.”


Daniela was a freshman, and Dr. Stephen Davis served as her first-year seminar professor. Dr. Davis fondly remembers that “she brought pure joy to the classroom and enlivened the experience for everyone, including the teacher. Always early to class with an eager smile, always enthused, continually engaged from beginning to end, and lingering after class with follow-up questions. She brightened everyone’s day, without exception, and inspired learning to be fun and collegial. Daniela was obviously proud of her personal heritage and cultural background and showed unusual interest in learning about the cultures of fellow students and sharing perspectives with her classmates. She was full of life, displaying exceptional energy, persistently cheerful, gregarious, fun-loving, and eager to cultivate new friendships. I remember her saying, ‘What I want to do the most in my vocational journey is to help people. I want to be there for them and share my talents.’”


During this time of great loss, we are reminded of the importance of community. Losing a fellow student and member of our University can be very difficult. I encourage those who feel they may need additional support to contact the Counseling Center (x4210), the Office of the Chaplain (x4275), as well as the Seaver Dean’s Office (x4280) for any emotional or academic assistance you may need.


For those who wish to send condolences to the family, please send your cards, notes, or letters to: Vice President for Student Life Office, Tyler Campus Center Suite 210, Mail Code 4472, and we will forward them to the family. 


Please keep Daniela’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this time of profound grief.  May God draw them near and sustain them by his comfort and grace.




Mark Davis, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Student Affairs