As Associate Vice Chancellor, Sam Lagana represents Pepperdine University across the nation and is a key ingredient in the successful networking of Pepperdine on a global basis.
Lagana has successfully championed the cause of fundraising for Pepperdine University by promoting a healthy discussion between alumni, parents, friends and students about their interaction with the campus and their plans for charitable giving. He serves as an ambassador for the charitable initiatives at Pepperdine by combining successful giving techniques with strategies that will help the students, staff and administration achieve their shared goal of enhancing the lives of the University community. Lagana extends the mission of Pepperdine by working with donors individually to maximize their personal philanthropic objectives and to realize substantial benefits while helping Pepperdine support its students.
Lagana continues to be actively engaged in outreach and networking on behalf of the University through his active participation in "Philanthropy with Purpose & Planned Giving" seminars and consultations, managing meetings of the Pepperdine Athletics Board, the University Committee for the Student Life & Events Center, and by hosting exciting and innovative events and activities, receptions and outreach activities on campus and throughout the country.
Lagana engages supporters to:
- Join the the Pepperdine Associates program -- a first step in annual support targeting the desire of the benefactor.
- Support Capital Projects, Scholarships and Endowments -- programs that enable the University to enhance its offerings while creating unique legacy's for Pepperdine donors.
- Develop an Estate Planning and Investment Strategies initiative -- via seminars and consultations that educate constituents how planned giving enables donors to maximize their personal philanthropic objectives while minimizing taxes. Depending on the asset given and the gift arrangement selected, benefactors can realize substantial benefits that help Pepperdine and its students.
- Learn about "Philanthropy with Purpose," a presentation created by Lagana, which guides benefactors and prospective donors via three key elements toward charitable giving: A) Giving for Passion, B) Giving for Pride, and C) Giving for Practicality.
- Support and attend Athletics and Arts activities that engage benefactors into the social side of Pepperdine.
Lagana arrived at Pepperdine in 2002 with more than 25 years of professional expertise in executive management, and with specific expertise in external affairs business specializations that included advancement, development, community relations, marketing, promotions, public relations, broadcast television and radio production and sponsorship experience.
Lagana enjoyed a successful tenure (1996-2001) at the historic Los Angeles Athletic Club as the Executive Director of the prestigious John R. Wooden Award. In addition to overseeing LAAC Athletics, Lagana directed the Sports Marketing & Business Development Divisions at the club. In 2012, he was appointed the National Chairman of the John R. Wooden Award and enjoys a close working relationship with the LAAC and the Wooden Family in this capacity as a volunteer.
Sam served one term as National Director of Sports at the renowned Josephson Institute of Ethics in Los Angeles in 2002, and handled the duties of Director of Athletics while serving as Associate Director of Athletics at Cal State Dominguez Hills (1993-1996), and Assistant Director of Athletics at Cal State Northridge (1989-1993) during the Matadors' entry into the Division I NCAA level of competition.
Lagana has been a member of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission Advisory Board since 1997, and he serves as Chairman of the executive board of Westcoast Sports Associates. Sam has served the boards of Palisades-Malibu YMCA, Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce, The Old Mission Santa Barbara Mausoleum and the American Legion Squadron 283. He has maintained long-standing memberships in The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), among others. Lagana is active with the The Breakfast Club in Downtown Los Angeles, is an adjunct professor of marketing in the Business Division of Pepperdine's Seaver College and is the founding advisor of the Pepperdine Sports Business Association.
During the 1980s, Lagana managed numerous sporting events while directing promotions and public relations for the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. He continued as the "Voice of Beach Volleyball" for the Pro Beach Volleyball Tour into the 2000s and continues to be a recognized voice-over talent, emcee and sports announcer. His announcing credits include television appearances on ABC, NBC, ESPN and Fox Sports for properties such as the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Los Angeles Avengers Arena Football, the Arena Bowl, Davis Cup Tennis, EA Sports College basketball video games, NCAA and collegiate conference competitions and he appeared as himself in the motion picture "Sideout." Lagana was selected by the Los Angeles Rams to be their stadium public address announcer when the NFL franchise returned to the Coliseum in 2016.
In 2000, USA Volleyball presented Lagana with the Robert Lindsay Award for meritorious service to the sport's national governing body. In 2004, The Los Angeles Athletic Club presented Lagana with its highest honor, the "Duke Award", for outstanding contributions to club activities and sports in Los Angeles. In 2009, Lagana received a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for community engagement and dedication, while in 2012, the California State Senate and Assembly honored him for his servant leadership.
Lagana, his wife Eileen, and daughters Cambria (Pepperdine Class of 2017) and Cienna reside in Pacific Palisades, where Lagana has been named the Mort Faberow Award recipient as Pacific Palisades Businessman of the Year (2007). The Pacific Palisades Community Council presented Lagana the 2012 Golden Sparkplug Award for his contributions to the town.