The cornerstone of the original Bible Institute building in Los Angeles was laid on May 31, 1913, and dedicated with these words:
"For the teaching of the truths for which the Institute stands, its doors are to be open every day of the year, and all people, without reference to race, color or class will ever be welcome to its privileges."
Spoken by Lyman Stewart, president of the Institute and co-founder of the Union Oil Company, these words capture the vision of Biola's founders. Stewart, together with T.C. Horton, initiated the Bible Institute, with the first permanent organization taking shape in 1908. 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 first dean.
The following decades have witnessed tremendous growth in the development and outreach of the school. Under the leadership of Dr. Louis T. Talbot, president from 1932 to 1952, the Bible 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 1949, the Bible Institute was renamed Biola College.