MALIBU, Calif. (BNc)- Pepperdine University announced today that Rick Marrs has been appointed dean of Seaver College following the retirement of W. David Baird.

Seaver College is Pepperdine’s undergraduate liberal arts college of letters, arts and sciences.

Darryl Tippens, provost and chief academic officer, praised Marrs as “an exceptional scholar, teacher, administrator and human being.”

Marrs served as chair of the religion division for seven years and associate dean for five years.

Marrs earned his PhD 1982 in Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University and both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Abilene Christian University in 1973 and 1976 respectively. He has been a member of the religion division faculty at Pepperdine since 1987.

Marrs is an Old Testament scholar and conversant in the literature of the Ancient Near East, with knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Phoenician, and Ugaritic, and in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He is author of several books and was co-editor of Worship and the Hebrew Bible: Essays in Honor of John T. Willis.

A frequent speaker at the Christian Scholars Conference, Marrs served the Baltimore church of Christ, Ira, Tex., church of Christ, and as interim minister Conejo Valley Church of Christ, where he currently serves as an elder.

Baird retires as dean at the end of the spring 2008 semester. He plans to research the history of churches of Christ in Oklahoma and will work with Pepperdine University on writing its history.

Pepperdine, founded in Los Angeles in 1937 and headquartered in Malibu, is an independent Christian university offering graduate and undergraduate degrees through Seaver College and four graduate schools of business, law, public policy and education and psychology. Associated with the progressive wing of churches of Christ, Pepperdine enrolls approximately 8,000 full-time and part-time students.