Look around Biola’s campus, and you’ll find Hudd Saffell’s fingerprints everywhere.

As far back as the mid-1970s, Saffell was playing a key role in shaping the campus that exists today, heading up the construction company that put up such buildings as Soubirou Hall, Sigma residence hall, Metzger Hall and other significant projects.

Now, though he’s long since retired, Saffell is once again helping to transform the campus — this time as one of several generous donors who have contributed to the ambitious new Talbot School of Theology building, set to open later this fall. This spring, he and his wife, Michele, made a substantial gift toward the $18.2 million project — driven, he said, by his support for Biola’s mission of biblically centered education.

“Biola has stuck to its formula of what it wants to produce in a student,” he said. “It’s never wavered or changed or watered it down. It’s still the same as it was in the beginning, after 100 years. I think that’s something to be said for the school.”

When it’s completed in October, the new four-story theology building will add 34 faculty offices, eight classrooms, two conference rooms, a prayer chapel and plenty of beautiful study space to Biola’s campus. But more than the features of the building itself, Saffell said he’s excited about the impact that the facility will make on thousands of future students.

“I think about what this building is going to provide in the future for young people who will be salt and light for the world when they graduate,” he said. “When they get out into the world, they really will be salting everything down and improving relationships, improving society, businesses, churches, everything. And I don’t know of an awful lot of schools that I would feel that way about.”

Saffell’s relationship with Biola dates back to the ’70s, when his company was selected to build Soubirou Hall, which now houses the nursing program. He’s felt a strong connection to the school ever since, even though he never attended. A few years after retiring from his construction company, Saffell & McAdam, in 1996, he was invited to join Biola’s Board of Trustees, where he served for 10 years before stepping down in 2009.

Now, in retirement, Saffell said that he seeks to use his resources to further God’s kingdom, recognizing that everything he has is God’s.

“It’s his, and he lets you use it the best way you can,” he said. “If you’ve got a heart for people and a heart for God, you’re going to give a lot more than you keep for yourself. That’s the greatest way to live that I can think of.”


How to Support Talbot: The new Talbot School of Theology building is still $630,000 away from being fully funded. To donate, visit giving.biola.edu or call (800) 632-4652.