On the last day of 2020, I received word that Biola had lost a great friend, Suzanne “Suzy” Crowell. For Paula and me, it was a sad New Year’s Eve. In our 14 years at Biola, we had come not just to appreciate Suzy as a generous benefactor. We had come to know and love her as a friend. Many had. It was always a privilege for Paula and me to share occasional meals and visits with Suzy. In my monthly calendar, I’d have reminders to call her and check in, to encourage her and ask about her family. Invariably, she would encourage me and ask about mine. This was her trademark spirit of optimism, even in the midst of her enduring physical struggles.
A remarkable woman, mother to Donald and Andrew, grandmother, prayer intercessor, philanthropist, civil servant and generous champion of many worthy causes, Suzy leaves a legacy of leadership in her hometown of San Marino, here at Biola and beyond.
With a family lineage reaching back to Biola founder Lyman Stewart, Suzy was instrumental in reconnecting the Crowell family name to Biola. In 2004 while serving as vice president of the citywide Billy Graham evangelistic crusade, she turned to Biola President Clyde Cook, telling him, “It’s time for a new building at Biola.” That building, dedicated in 2007 and made possible by her generosity, now houses our Crowell School of Business, a tribute to the lives of Suzy and her beloved husband, Donald Crowell Sr., head of the independent investment brokerage firm Crowell, Weedon & Co.
Suzy’s contributions were wide and deep in Southern California, including service on the City Council of San Marino and a term as its mayor. She was honored widely for her citizenship and numerous volunteer efforts. She served on the advisory board for Biola’s Torrey Honors College as well as organizations dedicated to kidney research, evangelism and the arts. Suzy delighted in investing in the lives of Biola students, and in 2014 we honored her with Biola’s Anna Horton Award for Lifetime Commitment and Service.
The life of Suzy Crowell has been and will be an encouragement to many called to see business as ministry and to be a faithful presence in the marketplace for Christ and his kingdom.