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Biola University is a private, non-denominational, evangelical Christian, liberal arts university located near Los Angelesmarker. Biola's main campus is located in the city of La Miradamarker in Los Angeles County, California. In addition, the university has several satellite campuses located in Chinomarker, Inglewoodmarker, Palm Desertmarker, San Leandromarker, Thousand Oaksmarker, San Diegomarker, San Bernardinomarker, and Laguna Hillsmarker.


Originally located in downtown Los Angelesmarker at the corner of Sixth St. and Hope St., the university moved south to its present location in suburban La Mirada, Californiamarker, in 1959.

The University was founded on February 25, 1908 as the Bible Institute Of Los Angeles by Lyman Stewart, co-owner of the Union Oil Company of California (subsequently known as Unocal; the company was purchased by Chevron Corporation and no longer exists), and T.C. Horton, a renowned minister and Christian author.

In 1909, Lyman Stewart and his brother Milton anonymously funded the publication of a twelve-volume series of articles called The Fundamentals, published between 1910 and 1915 and distributed free of charge to a wide range of Christian teachers and leaders, "Compliments of Two Christian Laymen." These volumes were intended as a restatement of conservative Christian theological teachings, primarily in response to the growing influence of modernist theology in the Church. In 1917 the articles were republished in a revised, four-volume set by the Institute. The term "fundamentalism" is in part derived from these volumes. It should be noted that the current ethos and self-identification of the University is "evangelical," and no longer "fundamentalist," although the University does maintain very conservative theological and cultural viewpoints, and expects its students and faculty to abide by strict moral standards.

By 1912, the school had grown sufficiently in its outreach and constituency to call R.A. Torrey, a leader in the field of Christian education, as the second dean. (The first was William Blackstone, 1908-09). Between 1912 and 1928, Biola was an established leader in conservative Christianity in North America, publishing The King's Business (a magazine similar to Christianity Today), operating one of the largest Christian radio stations in the U.S. (KTBI), and running the Biola Press, which sold and distributed Christian literature worldwide, including material for the Los Angeles-based Pentecostal preacher Aimee Semple McPherson. After Stewart's death and Torrey and Horton's retirements, William P. White, a well-known Christian leader and speaker, became Biola's first president in 1929. Charles E. Fuller, a graduate of Biola, became chairman of the board. Fuller later founded Fuller Theological Seminarymarker.

Biola fell into hard times during the Great Depression and was forced to sell its publishing company and radio station. The 13-story downtown building that housed the school was also under threat of loss. It was during this time that Louis T. Talbot became Biola's second president in 1932. Talbot also served as the pastor of the Church of the Open Door, which held services in the school's downtown building.

In 1935, well-known radio evangelist Paul W. Rood became Biola's third president to wage an intensive national fundraising effort to save the school. He was instrumental in establishing the Torrey Memorial Bible Conference, which is one of the longest standing Bible conferences today. He resigned in 1938 after raising sufficient funds to stabilize the school, saving it from financial ruin caused by the Great Depression.

Talbot entered a second term as Biola's president from 1938 to 1952. During this time, the Institute program became a four-year course, leading to degrees in theology, Christian education, and sacred music. The School of Missionary Medicine came into being in 1945, laying the foundation for Biola's current baccalaureate nursing program. In 1946, Talbot also established the Biola Institute Hour, a national radio program. It was later called the Biola Hour. The Institute was renamed Biola College in 1949.

Under the leadership of Samuel H. Sutherland, president from 1952 to 1970, Biola moved its campus to its current location La Mirada, California, in the summer of 1959. Sutherland and Russell Allder, Biola's business manager, were instrumental in purchasing and developing the new campus, which was purchased from publishing magnate Andrew McNally, founder and president of Rand McNally. At that time, development of La Mirada was still mostly in the planning stages and the site was surrounded by rolling hills and olive trees. La Mirada was incorporated as a city in 1960.

Under the leadership of Dr. J. Richard Chase, president from 1970 to 1982, the College was renamed Biola University on July 1, 1981. In 1977, the graduate programs of Rosemeadmarker Graduate School of Professional Psychology were acquired by the College and relocated to the La Mirada campus. The undergraduate programs in psychology were merged with Rosemead's graduate programs in the fall of 1981, forming the present Rosemead School of Psychology. Dr. Clyde Cook became president of the university on October 8, 1982.

The School of Intercultural Studies was instituted as part of the University in 1983. Talbot Theological Seminary became Talbot School of Theology in the fall of 1983 as a result of the merger of undergraduate and graduate programs.

In 1988 Biola acquired the adjacent McNally Elementary School, adding an additional to the main campus. In 1993, the Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the School of Business, in 1994 the establishment of the School of Continuing Studies, now called the School of Professional Studies, and on May 14, 2007, the establishment of the university's seventh school, the School of Education.

President Cook announced his retirement a year ahead of time in order to give the University's Board of Trustees enough time to find a replacement. After an extensive search, Dr. Barry Corey was selected to become the eighth president of Biola University on May 11, 2007. Dr. Corey was formerly Vice President/Chief Academic Officer and Academic Dean at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminarymarker. He succeeded Clyde Cook as president on July 1, 2007 and was inaugurated on November 2, 2007.

Biola Centennial Logo
Biola celebrated its centennial during the 2007-2008 school year. On February 25, 2008, Biola celebrated its 100th birthday with a midnight concert by the internationally recognized band Switchfoot. Lead singer Jon Foreman even assisted President Corey in blowing out Biola's birthday cake on stage.


While officially non-denominational, 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 a myriad of perspectives within the overall schema of Protestant orthodoxy. Biola holds to the key doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. The institution also officially holds to the teaching of premillennial dispensationalism, and requires its faculty members to be in accord with this theological and cultural perspective. As a final guarantee of strict adherence to its theological and cultural 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. This requirement gives the Talbot faculty de facto control over all academic personnel in every department, as well as the academic culture and intellectual production of the school.

B.I.O.L.A. Building

The stately, classical Italian-styled Bible Institute of Los Angeles building was located at 550 South Hope Street, at the intersection with Sixth Street in Downtown L.A.marker, next to the site of the Central Library (completed in 1926), which still stands today. Though very expensive for the fledgling school to build, it was completed in 1914, largely financed by the oil fortune of founder Lyman Stewart. For many years, the 13-story building, consisting of a large auditorium flanked by twin towers, was the tallest building in Southern California.

The elaborate 3,500-seat auditorium boasted such amenities as a large skylight and innovative, dual-stacked balconies. In addition, it was the largest auditorium on the West Coast for several decades. It was even larger than the famous Kodak Theatremarker in Hollywoodmarker (current home of the Academy Awards). Not until the 7,000-seat Nokia Theatre opened in 2007 would an auditorium in downtown L.A. rival its capacity. The building also had such marvels for the time as elevators and roof gardens. Two large neon signs on top of the building proclaiming "Jesus Saves" were a prominent part of the city's skyline. Christian hymns echoed daily throughout downtown from the chimes atop the building (which were the largest on the West Coast), giving Biola a prominent influence on the city for half a century. Several of the bells are currently on display at the La Mirada campus, near the library.

When Biola relocated to La Mirada in 1959, the building was sold to the Church of the Open Door. When the church left downtown L.A. in 1985 to move to suburban Glendoramarker, it sold the historic building to the late and controversial televangelist, Dr. Gene Scott, whose ministry occupied the building from 1986 to 1987. However, the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquakemarker caused significant damage to the building and it was condemned. Scott was forced to sell to the highest bidder - a developer who planned to raze the building, even though it was listed as a California historical monument. Despite attempts to save the building by Scott, the building was eventually demolished in 1988. Scott purchased the historic "Jesus Saves" signs though, and they presently sit atop his downtown Los Angeles University Cathedral. The current occupant of 550 South Hope Street is the regional headquarters for California Bank & Trust, and the famous U.S. Bank Tower stands nearby. There is a small memorial room and plaque near the entrance of the California Bank & Trust building listing all the senior pastors of the Church of the Open Door (along with Scott), but strangely, there is no mention of Biola.


Bell Tower
Undergraduate students are required to attend chapel 30 times per semester. Many influential Christian speakers, pastors, and notable figures have spoken at Biola's chapels, including Alistair Begg, Jill Briscoe, Tony Campolo, Michael Chang, Elisabeth Elliot, Greg Koukl, J.I. Packer, Brennan Manning, Albert Mohler, Luis Palau, Joni Eareckson Tada, John Thune, Nick Vujicic, Rick Warren, and Dallas Willard.

Students who, due to off-campus work requirements or other major time conflicts, are unable to physically attend the total number of required chapels may "make up" the required credits by submitting a brief written report on a chapel audio recording, up to a maximum of 15. Students must therefore be physically present for at least 15 chapels, unless otherwise exempted.


"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. Both graduates and undergraduates are required to attend.

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 educates, equips, and inspires students to embrace their role in completing the Great Commission. Classes are canceled Wednesday through Friday in the middle of Spring semester so that Biola's students and faculty can learn and see what God is doing on the mission field. The conference offers ethnic meals, cultural awareness field trips, on-campus cultural experiences, and interaction with missionaries.

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 Biola Media Conference seeks to advance the integration of faith and the arts. It brings together media leaders with men and women who benefit from their collective Christian wisdom, for a day of education, inspiration, and networking.

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.

On October 3, 2009, Biola sponsored the first ever Film Music Guild Conference (known as the FMG Conference 2009), an innovative project intended to bring students from LA’s finest film and music schools together to learn from top industry professionals. It is the only conference in world specifically designed to bring together student filmmakers and student composers to network with one another and dialogue about their art.

Messianic Jewish Studies

On October 8, 2007 Biola opened the Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies, in Manhattanmarker. 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.


Colleges and Schools

Biola offers 36 undergraduate majors and 145 professional fields of study, as well as master's, doctoral, and professional degrees. Degrees include B.A., B.S., B.M., M.A., M.B.A., M.Div., Th.M., D.Min., D.Miss., Psy.D., Ed.D., Ph.D. All are regionally and professionally accredited and are integrated with evangelical Christian doctrine.

The schools are:

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."

Biola is recognized as a "Third Tier National University" by US News & World Report.


Biola University holds institutional accreditation by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and certain programs are accredited by:

  • 1960 California Commission for Teacher Preparation and Licensing
  • 1961 Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • 1966 State of California Board of Registered Nursing
  • 1970 National Association of Schools of Music
  • 1972 National League for Nursing
  • 1977 Association of Theological Schools
  • 1977 Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs
  • 1980 American Psychological Association
  • 1998 The National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • 2006 Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs
  • 2006 Western Association of Schools and Colleges


Biola University is authorized to train students under the Veteran's Bill of Rights. In addition, the University is affiliated with a number of professional organizations, of which the following are representative:


  • Lyman Stewart
  • T.C. Horton


  • William P. White, 1st President (1929-1932)
  • Dr. Louis T. Talbot, 2nd and 4th President (1932-1935, 1938-1952)
  • Dr. Paul W. Rood, 3rd President (1935-1938)
  • Dr. Samuel H. Sutherland, 5th President (1952-1970)
  • Dr. J Richard Chase, 6th President (1970-1982)
  • Dr. Clyde Cook, 7th President (1982-2007)
  • Dr. Barry Corey, 8th President (2007 - present)

Student Organizations at Biola

Since its founding in 1908, Biola students have organized and run numerous student organizations, including the Biola Men and the King's Daughters. Currently, Biola has over 50 student-run clubs and organizations funded and monitored by the club director within the Associated Student government.

The Biola Fight Club, a student-led Mixed Martial Arts club, is the first "MMA" club at a Christian university. Other notable clubs include Maharlika ("royalty" in the Filipino language), a Filipino culture club that puts on a PCN (Pilipino Culture Night) every year in May, and the Hawaii Club, which promotes the state of Hawaiimarker and Polynesian culture.

The Film Music Guild at Biola University is a quickly growing student organization. Originally teaching film students about music and music students about film, the Film Music Guild has recently began broadening its goals to include creative collaboration, specifically in film. On October 3rd, 2009, the Film Music Guild brought about 120 students and 12 industry professionals (including Pete Docter, director of Pixar's Up; John Ottman, composer and editor of Valkyrie, and many others) into the same room to discuss storytelling, film music, and creative collaboration. The Film Music Guild plans on making this an annual event.

Running parallel to the Associated Student government is the Student Missionary Union (SMU). Established in 1923, SMU's mission is "To motivate and mobilize students to align their lives toward the completion of the Great Commission." SMU is the largest student-run missions organization in the Western hemisphere, putting on the largest annual Missions Conference in the country, as well as sending out an average of 12 student-led missions per year all over the world.

Additionally, several societies have existed at Biola that resemble senior societies at East Coast universities. Because none of Biola's senior societies own "tombs" on or adjacent to the campus, it is difficult to discern which are still in operation and which, if any, are defunct.


A member of the NAIA Division I, Biola competes in the Golden State Athletic Conference in the following 17 intercollegiate sports:

  • Baseball (men)
  • Basketball (men and women)
  • Cross Country (men and women)
  • Golf (men and women)
  • Soccer (men and women)
  • Softball (women)
  • Swimming (men and women)
  • Tennis (men and women)
  • Track (men and women)
  • Volleyball (women)

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 brand new conference, the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (SLC).

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


The university has been involved in the publication of the following magazines and academic journals:
  • The King's Business was a monthly publication of Biola from 1910 to 1970. In the first decades of its publication, it was the leading journal for conservative Christianity and the early fundamentalist movement. In fact, The Fundamentals and The King's Business shared the same chief editor (R. A. Torrey) and were supported by the same "concerned laymen" (Lyman and Milton Stewart).
  • Philosophia Christi is a peer-reviewed journal published twice a year by the Evangelical Philosophical Society with the support of Biola University as a vehicle for the scholarly discussion of philosophy and philosophical issues in the fields of ethics, theology, and religion. The journal is indexed by The Philosopher's Index and Religious & Theological Abstracts.
  • Journal of Psychology and Theology has as its purpose to communicate recent scholarly thinking on the interrelationships of psychological and theological concepts, and to consider the application of these concepts to a variety of professional settings. The major intent of the editor is to place before the evangelical community articles that have bearing on the nature of humankind from a biblical perspective.
  • Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care has as its purpose advancing the discussion of the theory and practice of Christian formation and soul care for the sake of the educational ministries of the church, Christian education, and other para-church organizations through scholarly publications that are rooted in biblical exegesis, systematic theology, the history of Christian spirituality, philosophical analysis, psychological theory/research, spiritual theology, and Christian experience.
  • Christian Education Journal has as its purpose to strengthen the conception and practice of Christian education in church and para-church settings.
  • Biola Magazine is the official magazine of Biola University.
  • Sundoulos is the official magazine of Talbot School of Theology.
  • The Chimes is Biola's student newspaper.
  • The Point is a magazine produced by Biola's journalism program that won the 2008 Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award, the highest honor for a collegiate magazine.

Notable alumni


Cinema and Media Arts



  • Henry Cloud, multiple bestselling author and renowned psychologist
  • Clyde Cook, former president of Biola University
  • Michael Long, 2008 State of California Teacher of the Year



Notable faculty

Theology & philosophy


  • Dan Callis, internationally known artist, Professor of Art


  • Jim Canning, former Vice President/CFO World Vision, Professor of Finance
  • David Kuykendall, former CFO of Freedom Communications, former Partner at Deloitte, Professor of Accounting

Cinema and Media Arts

Adjunct Professor


  • Timothy Muehlhoff, speaker for Campus Crusade and Family Life conferences, Professor of Communication Studies


  • Paul Buchanan, Novelist, Playwright, Children's author, Professor of Creative Writing
  • Christopher Davidson, poet, Professor of Creative Writing
  • Aaron Kleist, Cambridge ASNC alumnus, Research Associate Professor of English, Electronic Aelfric Project Director and Editor


  • Li-shan Hung, Assistant Professor, Head of Piano Department, worldwide performer



  • Brad Christerson, Author of Growing Up in America: The Power of Race in the Lives of Teens (Stanford University Press), Professor of Sociology


  • Dave Holmquist, Head Basketball Coach, youngest college basketball coach to win 700 games
  • John C. Verhoeven, Head Baseball Coach, former major league pitcher


  • When the first-ever commercial radio station hit the airwaves in 1920, the institute recognized the potential of radio and founded KJS in 1922. KJS was the first radio station devoted to religious programming in Los Angeles and the second in the nation. Biola College later produced a show called "The Biola Hour," which was listened to by millions of people nationwide. The show was heard as far west as Hawaii, as far east as Maryland, as far north as Edmonton, Canada, and as far south as the country of Ecuadormarker.
  • Biola, Californiamarker, a small rural town in Fresno County, was named after the university.
  • Biola alumna Candice Hansard was voted Miss LA Galaxy 2007 (club of English superstar David Beckham) and served as the Major League Soccer club's official representative to the Southern California community.
  • Current Talbot School of Theology student Dustin Seltzer was crowned Miss California 2005 and appeared on the television series The Amazing Race 10 (4th place) and The Amazing Race: All-Stars (2nd place).
  • In the 2003 movie S.W.A.T., actor Colin Farrell states that a target is at "Hope and Sixth" in downtown L.A. - the site of the former BIOLA building.


  1. About | History & Heritage « Biola University
  2. The Office of the President | Inauguration « Biola University
  3. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  4. Talbot School of Theology | On-Campus Activities « Biola University
  5. Journalism | Special Programs « Biola University
  6. News & Events | "Biola Opens New Site in Manhattan" « Biola University

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