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Pepperdine University Mourns the Passing of Life Regent Glen Holden

Pepperdine University is saddened to announce the passing of Ambassador Glen Holden, a fervent supporter of higher education and a dedicated member of the Pepperdine community for 49 years. Ambassador Holden, who served as a member of the Board of Regents for more than 30 years and began his service as a Life Regent in 2019, passed on April 18, 2024, at the age of 96.

Considered one of the principal innovators and leaders of change in the life insurance industry in the United States, Ambassador Holden is world renowned for successfully leading in the sale of insurance products through major New York Stock Exchange member companies, as well as issuing the first interest-sensitive life insurance products in the United States. In 1973, he founded The Holden Group (THG), where he acted as chair and became the principal stockholder until he sold the company after nearly three decades. THG is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.  

Ambassador Holden’s strong commitment to private enterprise led to his appointment by President George H. W. Bush as United States Ambassador to Jamaica. While serving, Holden was able to attract more than $400 million of American private capital and implemented the Enterprise for Americas Initiative Policy—a policy that served as a basis for the North American Foreign Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

A longtime supporter of Pepperdine, Ambassador Holden was the venerated recipient of the University’s highest honor, the Doctor of Laws degree, in 1988 from the Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Additionally, Ambassador Holden and his late wife, Gloria, were involved in numerous professional, municipal, cultural, and educational board activities. Together, Ambassador and Mrs. Holden were generous benefactors to Pepperdine students through the Glen and Gloria Holden Endowed Scholarship. To honor their commitment to higher education, on November 29, 2002, Casa Holden was dedicated and continues to serve as the central location for students at Pepperdine’s international campus in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ambassador Holden co-chaired the Campaign for Pepperdine from 2010–2015, which raised $470 million, and served on the Board of Advisors at the School of Public Policy. The University dedicated Holden House on the Malibu campus in honor of Glen and Gloria in 2019.

Ambassador Holden is survived by his son, Glen Holden Jr.; daughter, Geannie Holden Sheller, who is a cherished member of the Pepperdine community through her support of the Boone Center for the Family; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife, Gloria, and daughter, Georgianne Holden Stone (’78, MS ’87).

More information about a memorial service to honor Ambassador Holden’s life is forthcoming.