Biola University

Biola University
Motto Above All Give Glory to God
Type Private
Established February 25, 1908
Affiliation Non-denominational, Evangelical Christian
Endowment $105.4 million[1]
President Barry H. Corey, Ph.D
Provost Deborah Taylor
Academic staff
Undergraduates 4,011
Postgraduates 1,308
Location La Mirada, CA, USA
Campus Suburban, 96 acres (39 ha)
Colors Pantone 186 (Red), Black and White             
Nickname Eagles
Affiliations CCCU

Biola University is a private, Evangelical Christian university approximately 16 miles from downtown Los Angeles, in La Mirada, California. Founded in 1908, the university has over 40 major academic fields of study in six schools.


Biola's former Los Angeles building: under construction (top) and complete in 1916 (bottom). It was demolished in 1988, after damage in a 1987 earthquake.[2]

Biola University was founded in 1908 as the Bible Institute Of Los Angeles by Lyman Stewart, president of the Union Oil Company of California (subsequently known as Unocal and later purchased by the Chevron Corporation), Thomas C. Horton, a Presbyterian minister and Christian author, and Augustus B. Prichard, also a Presbyterian minister.[3][4][5]

In 1912, the school appointed R. A. Torrey as dean, and in 1913 began construction on a new building at the corner of Sixth and Hope St., in downtown Los Angeles, which included a 3,500-seat auditorium, two large neon signs on top of the building proclaiming "Jesus Saves", and a set of eleven bells on which hymns were played three times each day.[2][3][6][7] These early leaders wanted the school to focus on the training of students in the Bible and missions, rather than a broad approach to Christian education that was typical of most Christian liberal arts colleges. The Institute offered a diploma after completion of a two-year curriculum. This model was based largely on the Moody Bible Institute.[8] Beginning in the 1920s, attempts were made to broaden the curriculum,[9] but it was not until 1949 that the institution took the name "Biola College" and 1981 when it was renamed "Biola University". Biola re-located to La Mirada, California in 1959.[2][3][6][10]

In 1915 Torrey announced plans to organize an independent church that would meet in Biola's auditorium called the Church of the Open Door. This decision proved controversial with local Presbyterian and Baptist clergy.[11]

In 1917, the Institute published a four-volume version of The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth (a series of essays affirming conservative Protestant beliefs), edited by Torrey and others, with funds donated by Lyman Stewart and his brother Milton.[12][13]

Lyman Stewart died on September 28, 1923, and ten months later, Reuben Torrey resigned as dean. The school appointed Joseph Irvine as President, and on April 3, 1925, appointed John Murdoch MacInnis as the school's second dean. MacInnis was a Presbyterian minister who had only been an instructor at the school for about two years. MacInnis served as dean until his forced resignation on December 31, 1928. His administration was turbulent and suffered from leadership conflicts and religious controversy.[14] In 1927, Biola published a book by MacInnis entitled "Peter the Fisherman Philosopher". This book became the focus of an intense national controversy, in which MacInnis was accused by Fundamentalists of advocating liberal theological positions contrary to Biola's standards.[15][16] Eventually MacInnis was forced to resign effective December 31, 1928, and all the remaining copies of the book along with the printing plates were destroyed.[17]

In 1929 Charles E. Fuller a businessman and evangelist and graduate of Biola, was drafted as vice president to find a new dean and a president. Elbert McCreery and William P. White, both associated with Moody Bible Institute, were chosen to fill these posts.[18]

During the Great Depression, the Institute suffered serious financial difficulties.[6] In 1932, Louis T. Talbot, pastor of the Church of the Open Door, assumed the presidency and helped raise much-needed funds.[6] During the next two decades, Talbot led a shift away from missions, instead concentrating on academic programs.[6] Talbot Theological Seminary became Biola's first graduate school, and in 1977, Biola acquired the graduate programs of Rosemead Graduate School of Professional Psychology and relocated them to the La Mirada campus.[6] Biola added a School of Intercultural Studies in 1983,[19] a School of Business in 1993,[6] and a School of Education in 2007.[20]


Biola University is officially non-denominational, but the most represented denominations at the university are Baptist and Evangelical Free. Biola is well known for its conservative evangelical doctrine, while many other evangelical schools identify as either moderate or liberal. The vast majority of students and faculty identify themselves as evangelical, but Biola students and faculty hold to myriad perspectives within the overall schema of Protestant orthodoxy. Biola holds to the key doctrine of Biblical inerrancy, the idea that the original writings of the Bible were without error with regard to both theological and non-theological matters. As a final guarantee of strict adherence to its theological worldview, the university requires every faculty member, when first hired and again upon application for tenure, to submit their understanding of and complete agreement with each item of the doctrinal and teaching statements to the Talbot School of Theology for evaluation.


"The Word", mural by Kent Twitchell.

Biola holds two annual student conferences, the Missions Conference during the spring semester and the Torrey Memorial Bible Conference during the fall semester.[21][22]

The Missions Conference is the largest annual missions conference and the second largest missions conference in the world, second only to the tri-annual Urbana Missions Conference. It is a three-day student-run event that is intended to inspire students towards missionary activity and provide information about missionary work. Classes are canceled Wednesday through Friday in the middle of spring semester to accommodate this. The conference offers ethnic meals, cultural awareness field trips, on-campus cultural experiences, and interaction with missionaries.[23]

The Torrey Memorial Bible Conference is also a three-day conference dedicated to students' spiritual growth. Every year a specific topic is chosen that is geared towards the typical college student's spiritual needs.

The annual one-day Biola Media Conference seeks to advance the integration of faith and the arts. It brings together Christian media leaders and other Christians for education, inspiration, and networking.[24]

On November 16, 1996, the university hosted the first national conference on intelligent design. Later, Intervarsity Press published Mere Creation (ISBN 0-8308-1515-5), a collection of the papers presented at the conference. Subsequent intelligent design conferences were held at the University in 2002 and 2004.[25]

Since 2015, Biola requires students to attend 5 conference sessions and 20 chapel services per semester, or face a financial penalty.[26]

Messianic Jewish Studies

On October 8, 2007, Biola opened the Charles Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies in Manhattan. The Center offers a Masters in Divinity in Messianic Jewish Studies. The program, which is in cooperation with Chosen People Ministries, focuses on the education and training of leaders in the Messianic Jewish community.[27] The program is approved by the New York State Board of Regents and the Association of Theological Schools.


Colleges and schools

Biola offers more than 40 undergraduate majors and 80 concentrations and 145 professional fields of study, as well as master's, doctoral, and professional degrees. Degrees include B.A., B.S., B.M., B.F.A, M.A., M.B.A., M.Div., Th.M., D.Min., D.Miss., Psy.D., Ed.D., and Ph.D. All are regionally and professionally accredited and are integrated with evangelical Christian doctrine.[28][29]

Lecture hall at Biola University in La Mirada, California

The schools are:

Crowell School of Business is an undergraduate and graduate business school located in La Mirada, Calif at Biola University.

In 1993, the school was established as the fifth school of Biola University. In 2005, the school was renamed the Crowell School of Business after a generous donation from the Crowell family who has deep ties to the history of Biola University. The late Donald Warren Crowell was the great nephew of both Lula Crowell who was the wife of Lyman Stewart, one of Biola’s founders. The new state of the art business building opened in 2007 to host both graduate and undergraduate classes.

Crowell offers two master’s programs in business administration: a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Masters in Professional Accountancy (MPAcc). Both of these degrees can be obtained through a full-time or part-time schedule. Both the MBA and MPAcc programs are accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges with the MBA being accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs as well. The undergraduate program at Crowell offers majors in accounting and in business administration with emphasis in international business, management, marketing, marketing management and business analytics. The school offers a minor in business administration available to all undergraduates at Biola University. The undergraduate program boasts approximately 400 students, making it the largest undergraduate program at Biola.

The School of Education was established in 2007, originally started as the Education Department in 1952. It offers biblically integrated courses and programs that exist to train those who desire to make an impact as educators and administrators in public, private, homeschool, charter and international schools. At the undergraduate level, the School of Education is home to the elementary education, multidisciplinary majors and liberal studies, which consistently rank among the most popular undergraduate majors at Biola. At the graduate level, the School of Education offers a Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Arts in Education programs. These graduate programs can be tailored to meet the individual interests of new and experienced teachers alike. The School of Education also offers a state-accredited Teacher Preparation Program, which offers teaching credentials at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

All undergraduate students are required to take 30 units of Bible classes, regardless of their major, resulting in a minor in theological and Biblical studies. The mission of Biola University is "biblically centered education, scholarship, and service—equipping men and women in mind and character to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ."[30]

In its 2014 college rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Biola in its "Best National Universities" category,[31] ranking Biola 177 out of 281 national universities.[32] Biola was one of only two national universities in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) to be included in the first tier.[33] In 2013 Biola had been listed as one of America's 19 "up and coming" national universities by U.S. News.[34] In 2014 Niche ranked Biola as #3 in its Friendliest Students category.

Programs and Study Abroad

Torrey Honors Institute is a Christian great books program started by Dr. John Mark Reynolds in 1995[35] and named after Reuben Archer Torrey.[36] Classes in the department are used to meet most of the general education requirements at Biola University in four years (the program does not offer a major or minor). The Torrey Honors Institute is patterned after Oxford's tutorial system, employing reading, discussion, writing, mentoring, and lectures among other opportunities.[36] The goal of the department is to "equip men and women to pursue truth, goodness and beauty in intellectual and spiritual community, enabling them to be strong Christian leaders"[36]

Biola Youth Academics (BYA) is an academic program for homeschool students K-12 started by Biola University in 1996. BYA offers more than 200 academic classes and a wide range of services for a tailor-made experience for elementary, junior high and high school students through the university. Biola Youth Academics is committed to serving and supporting the public, private, mission and homeschool community by providing academically rigorous programs from a Biblical worldview. In partnership with parents, BYA educates students, equipping them to engage and create culture as a Christ-centered community. BYA offers classes in Garden Grove, La Mirada, Simi Valley, Temecula Valley, Yorba Linda, Calif., and online.



Order Name Years in office
1 William P. White 1929–1932
2 Louis T. Talbot 1932–1935
3 Paul W. Rood 1935–1938
4 Louis T. Talbot 1938–1952
5 Samuel H. Sutherland 1952–1970
6 J. Richard Chase 1970–1982
7 Clyde Cook 1982–2007
8 Barry Corey 2007— [38]

Student organizations

Biola's Student Government Association (SGA) equips student leaders to provide funding for student initiatives and representation for the undergraduate student body in order to foster Christ-centered community. SGA also sponsors student initiated and student run clubs on campus through which anyone can get involved, create community, and develop teamwork and leadership skills. There are more than 40 active clubs on campus.

The Biola Student Missionary Union (SMU) is the largest student-led missions organization in the United States. The ministry focuses in three primary areas: Biola, our city, and the Nations. Students from every background and skill set can live out the Great Commission in their lives through the Missions Conference, Impact Teams, Short-Term Missions trips and many other opportunities. SMU exists to mobilize students to align their lives towards the completion of the Great Commission. Their desire is to consistently raise up generations of student leaders who passionately and obediently serve Jesus throughout their lives.

In May 2012, an underground LGBTQ community, calling themselves the Biola Queer Underground, launched a website in support of promoting dialogue and reconsideration of Biola's expulsion policy regarding homosexual behavior.[39] The covert group requested to be accepted as a facet of diversity within the campus, declaring that, despite traditional church teaching on homosexuality, they held similar Christian beliefs and values to the university.[39] The website was advertised on campus without authorization, and garnered national attention from the mainstream media.[40][41] The Biola administration released a statement on human sexuality shortly afterwards, and gave a chapel message reiterating their view that marriage is strictly between a man and woman.[42] In the Spring of 2013 William Haggerty and Natasha Magness, both former students of the university, were interviewed by Biola's student newspaper, revealing that they were the co-founders of the organization.[43]


Biola University teams, nicknamed athletically as the Eagles, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field and volleyball.[44]

In 2012, Biola inducted three alumni into Inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame. The Athletics Department inducted Todd Worrell (Baseball), Becky White (Volleyball and Women's Basketball) and Wade Kirchmeyer (Men's Basketball). The school has since inducted nine more alumni, including: Jim Blagg, Dr. Clyde Cook, Musa Dogonyaro, Ronn Johnson, Natasha Miller, Ben Orr, Jessica Pistole, Rianne Schorel and Tim Worrell.

Biola University also has a club men's lacrosse team that competed in the Western Collegiate Lacrosse Conference, but as of 2009 they compete in a new conference, the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (SLC). Biola also has a club men's rugby team that began playing in the SCRFU in 2013.

In 2005, the university's soccer pitch, Al Barbour Field, was completely rebuilt, incorporating a FieldTurf synthetic grass surface, new lighting, and a parking garage beneath the field.

In 2013, Biola's softball field was newly renovated. The new "Freedom Field" contains an upgraded facility complete with new dugouts, bullpens, a team room and other major improvements.

On July 20, 2016 Biola University’s application for membership into the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division II had been approved for the three-year membership process. The Eagles will continue as an active member of the GSAC conference and NAIA for the 2016-17 school year while completing Provisional Year One with the NCAA. Beginning in Provisional Year Two (2017-18), Biola will join the Pacific West (PacWest) Conference and compete primarily against NCAA opponents. With successful completion of Provisional Year Three (2018-19) of the membership process, the Eagles will gain full, active NCAA DII membership and become eligible to compete for NCAA Division II championships beginning as early as 2019-20.[45]


In 2012, the Biola University Center for Christian Thought (CCT) was launched, funded by a $3.03 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the largest academic grant ever awarded to Biola University.[46] The CCT ( is a forum where leading Christian thinkers from around the world gather to research and discuss issues of significance to the academy, the church, and the broader culture.[47] In 2013, the Biola University Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts (CCCA) was launched, funded with a grant from philanthropists Howard and Roberta Ahmanson’s Fieldstead and Company.[48] The CCCA ( sponsors events and symposia, produces online resources and strives to facilitate thoughtful reflection on the interplay of Christian faith, the larger culture and the world of the arts.[49] In October 2014, Biola launched the Center for Marriage and Relationships (CMR). The center exists to build and sustain healthy relationships and marriages in the church and broader culture. They strive to provide a safe place for individuals, couples and families to share their stories and be heard. CMR also desires to restore and inspire a vision or marriage that reflects the beautiful model of Christ's redeeming love for the church.


The university has been involved in the publication of the following magazines and academic journals:

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


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Coordinates: 33°54′20″N 118°01′05″W / 33.905558°N 118.018117°W / 33.905558; -118.018117

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