When Ed Lehman (’57) first joined Biola’s Board of Trustees, Lyndon B. Johnson was president, The Sound of Music was the year’s film sensation and The Beatles won the Grammy for “Best New Artist.”
The world has radically changed in the ensuing 47 years, but Lehman’s presence on the board — the body that guides the university’s policies — has been a constant.
After nearly five decades of serving Biola and watching it grow from a small college in Los Angeles into a thriving university in La Mirada, Lehman recently decided it was time to retire.
“There are so many memories that maybe I should write a book sometime,” he said. “One of the most exciting things for me has been the privilege of investing my time and resources in the lives of students who will impact the world for Christ.”
Lehman joined the board in 1965 after former president Sam Sutherland suggested he consider a position. He served as chair of the board from 1982 to 1994 and served on every committee during his years of service. He most recently served on the student development committee, and his three-year term ended June 30, ushering in his retirement.
In honor of Lehman’s time on the board, Biola dedicated its board conference room and dining room in his name, both located in Metzger Hall. Lehman occupied the same seat in the upper left corner conference room at every meeting since Metzger was built 33 years ago.
“It is humbling for those of us who serve with him on the Biola board to realize that someone with such extraordinary gifts has chosen to invest so much of his life to Biola,” board chair Stan Jantz said in a recent tribute. “I can’t even imagine being in a board meeting without Ed’s presence in the top row of the board room, which to me is wonderfully emblematic of the experience and wisdom he brings to each gathering.”
To describe what his involvement at Biola will look like following retirement, Lehman used the same analogy former president Clyde Cook once used. He said when it comes to Biola, trustees should have their noses in and fingers out.
Lehman says he will miss the fellowship at Biola and hearing student testimonies, though he plans to remain connected to university life as part of the President’s Circle, whose members support Biola students with annual donations and take part in special events on campus a few times a year.
Keeping up to date on Biola over the years enabled Lehman to pray intelligently and effectively for the university, he says. Trustees receive board reports regarding the university, which has kept Lehman updated on developments he might not hear about otherwise. He plans to continue receiving updates in retirement.
“I would really miss that after praying for Biola for 47 years,” he said. “The day wouldn’t seem complete if I didn’t have some specific prayer request to follow in connection with Biola’s success and the impact it’s having.”