What do you love most about Biola? We recently asked alumni to chime in for a special A-to-Z roundup of what sets our university apart and gives our campus and community its one-of-a-kind appeal. Join us on this alphabetical exploration of some of the traits, traditions, facts and features that make Biola special.
Biola’s global community of alumni is more than 65,000 strong — living out the university’s mission to impact the world for Christ across a wide range of careers, callings and countries. If you’re a graduate, be sure to connect with your fellow “Biolans for Life” on BiolaHub, where thousands of alumni have signed up to participate in professional networking, mentoring and reminiscing about the good old days.
Biblically Centered Education
At Biola, we’re serious about the Bible. It was the “B” in our original name back in 1908: the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. And today, “biblically centered education” is still at the core of our mission. All traditional undergraduates take 30 credits of Bible and theology classes, qualifying them for a minor in biblical and theological studies. And across all levels, Biola brings a Christian perspective into the entire academic experience, helping our students to connect their faith with their studies and careers — instead of bracketing it off to the side.
Biola is one of the few universities where every student, professor and staff member is a professing Christian. In an age of intense polarization and cultural conflict — especially on college campuses — it’s a rare thing to be able to learn in a community with a shared understanding of what matters most. Here, there’s plenty of room for winsome disagreement and healthy debate on all sorts of issues, big and small. But ultimately, ours is a community that’s bound together by our common faith in Christ and our commitment to live out the good news of the gospel.
Biola’s residence halls are some of the safest, cleanest and highest-quality in the country. But don’t take our word for it: Biola ranks 37th overall — out of almost 1,400 universities! — in the 2022 Niche Best Colleges list of the “Best College Dorms in America,” based on student surveys and safety statistics.
For more than 50 years, students have been hunting and hiding a giant ovoid chunk of concrete known as the Biola Egg. The tradition began in the mid-’60s, when a former board member donated the original Egg, with the expectation that each year’s senior class would hand it down to their successors. But just before its formal dedication, a group of eggnapping underclassmen made off with it — kicking off a multi-generation tradition in which the Egg’s owners hide it somewhere on or around campus and aim to keep it from being found and stolen.
Across higher education, “mission drift” is an all-too-common phenomenon. Many “once-faithful colleges and universities have seen their lights dim and even die over the generations” by neglecting the original intentions of their founders, President Barry H. Corey recently wrote. By contrast, Biola remains faithfully committed to the principles that guided our founders from the start, nearly 115 years ago. Together, the following six founding principles “provide us clarity about who we are and what we do.”
Scripture: A commitment to the authority of the Bible. We educate students to know, love and affirm the truths of God’s Word.
Scholarship: A commitment to true knowledge. We pursue wisdom to endow students with fruitful habits of mind.
Virtue: A commitment to a virtuous Christian life. We nurture students to embrace noble attitudes of the heart.
Evangelism: A commitment to sharing and living the gospel. We prepare a generation of students to reveal in word and deed the good news of Jesus.
Reconciliation: A commitment to be a welcoming community. We model for students a spirit of Christian unity amidst our beautiful diversity.
Access: A commitment to an achievable education. We create for students achievable and affordable learning pathways.
For a deeper dive into Biola’s six founding principles — and how they still guide the university today — read “A Mission Retrospective,” a new booklet from President Corey. Find it at biola.edu/about/mission.
Throughout the decades, the Lord has used the generosity and faithful stewardship of thousands of donors to help carry out the mission of Biola University. Through their collective giving, donors have provided scholarships for countless students in need, funded the construction and expansion of innovative buildings, and enabled the spread of biblically centered resources throughout the world. In the face of substantial needs and in response to audacious prayers, Biola has seen God move in miraculous ways, time and time again. In the university’s most recent comprehensive fundraising campaign, supporters exceeded all expectations by contributing more than $214 million — against an original goal of $180 million. And year after year, gifts large and small to the Biola Fund and other areas of need have made it possible for students to continue to experience a Biola education.
The hammocks outside of the Student Union Building are just one of the many ideal places around campus to soak up some Southern California sun while studying (or siesta-ing). We don’t take it for granted that not every university gets to experience a perfect climate all year round. (Newsweek has named Biola one the “25 Great Schools with Great Weather.”) Sure, we may feel a slight twinge of jealousy when we see the New England fall leaves or the blankets of Midwestern winter snow on other colleges’ Instagram feeds. But it’s hard to beat the feeling of lying back, shoes off, sunglasses on, swaying in the warm February breeze.
Biola’s Office of Innovation is a place where aspiring entrepreneurs can “get involved, get smart, get backed and get going.” Established in 2020, this office provides a hub where students can create and collaborate on entrepreneurial ideas. Among its many opportunities is the Biola Startup Competition, an annual event in which students with business proposals can get coaching from entrepreneurs and industry professionals — and an award of $20,000 in capital.
“Jesus Saves” Sign
Way back in 1935, Biola flipped the switch on the first of two red neon “Jesus Saves” signs atop its original building at the corner of Sixth and Hope streets in downtown Los Angeles. The signs remained a famed feature of the L.A. skyline even after Biola moved to the suburbs in 1959. Today, one of the original signs still glows brightly from its adopted home on the trendy Ace Hotel, continuing to proclaim a simple gospel message over the city. Meanwhile, after years of unsuccessfully seeking to purchase the other sign, the university in 2013 commissioned a smaller-scale replica to be installed on a campus parking structure, where it shines atop a large mesh photo of Biola’s original building.
Keepsakes and Swag
A new and improved Biola Store recently opened its doors — and launched a redesigned website. Find your Biola-branded shirts, hoodies, hats, mugs, magnets and more at biolagear.com.
Biola has its fair share of landmarks — the places where visitors and alumni alike are most likely to pose for a picture during campus visits. Among our most picturesque places: The library beacon, the Jesus Mural, the Bell Tower, the Fireplace Pavilion and the Fluor Fountain of Faith.
For three days each spring, Biola takes a pause from classes in order to host Missions Conference, one of the university’s oldest and most celebrated traditions. The annual event — which just celebrated its 92nd year in March 2022 — offers the community a focused opportunity to worship, pray, attend breakout sessions, hear about how God is at work around the world, meet representatives from missions organizations and respond to Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. Most impressive of all: The event continues to be organized entirely by Biola’s Student Missionary Union, the largest student-led missions organization in the United States.
NCAA Division II Competition
Biola has a long history of developing exceptional student-athletes and teams. And in 2019, the university took that history to the next level: achieving full membership status in the NCAA. After decades in the smaller NAIA, the move to the NCAA Division II — where Biola participates the PacWest Conference — promised an increased level of competition, greater life-balance for student-athletes and the renewal of long-held rivalries with our cross-county Christian counterparts at Azusa Pacific University. Despite some interference from the global pandemic, the Biola Eagles have experienced some solid early success. In 2021, the women’s softball team just narrowly missed out on a national championship in a best-of-three series, finishing as the national runner-up in its first-ever season of eligibility for NCAA Division II postseason competition.
(Free) Online Resources!
You don’t have to be a student in order to experience and benefit from Biola University! The university offers all sorts of free online resources — podcasts, video lectures, blogs, online devotionals and so much more — created to help people of all ages and backgrounds deepen their thinking, grow in their faith and find practical support for a flourishing Christian life.
Biola’s YouTube Channel
Annual views: 5.53 million
The Good Book Blog
Annual views: 3.06 million
The Advent Project & The Lent Project
Annual views: 1.38 million
Think Biblically Podcast
Annual Downloads: 701,000
Center for Marriage & Relationships
Annual views: 251,000
Art of Relationships Podcast
Annual Downloads: 26,000
The Winsome Conviction Podcast
Annual Downloads: 34,000
We might be biased, but we think Biola’s faculty is among the best at any university, anywhere. Our esteemed professors hold doctorates from some of the world’s leading research universities, such as Cambridge, Caltech, Cornell, Stanford and Oxford. They publish influential books, conduct innovative research, consult for major businesses and create masterful works of art. But most important, they model what it looks like to follow Jesus — in mind and character — across all academic disciplines and career fields. Not only do they provide a rigorous academic education, they also mentor our students as they wrestle through hard questions, grow in wisdom and leave Biola fully prepared for a life of impact.
Quiet Places to Pray
In an age of constant hurry and information overload, it takes intentionality to pause, read Scripture, pray and be aware of the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence with us. Quiet, set-aside places can play an important role in facilitating our connection with God. Here are some of our favorites at Biola:
Rose of Sharon Chapel
Talbot East Chapel (Fred and Ruth Waugh Prayer Chapel)
Olive Grove (Kavalich Park)
Riady Rooftop Garden
Talbot East Reflection Pool
Earl and Virginia Green Art Gallery
Recognition and Rankings
Year after year, Biola is ranked nationally for its academic strength. Within U.S. News and World Report’s prestigious national university category, Biola is the highest-ranking member school from the CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges & Universities).
There’s no better place to be a college student than Southern California — one of the greatest destinations on earth. Biola’s campus is in the heart of it all, right on the border of Los Angeles and Orange counties. Just a short drive away, students spend their downtime surfing at legendary Southern California beaches and hiking the scenic San Gabriel Mountains. We’ve got epic amusement parks like Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios. Extraordinary museums like the Getty Center, LACMA and the Griffith Observatory. Concerts in world-class venues like the Hollywood Bowl, the Greek Theater and the Wiltern. Top-tier professional sports teams and amazing stadiums and arenas to see them in. And that’s not to mention internships, jobs and ministry opportunities. From the skyscrapers of L.A. to the studios of Hollywood to the startups and corporate headquarters of Orange County, our backyard is brimming with opportunities for real-world experience.
Biola is home to some can’t-miss traditions throughout the year, including Nationball (our massive fall dorm-against-dorm dodgeball tournament), Punk ‘n’ Pie (our fall talent show), Midnight Madness (the biggest night of the year for Biola Athletics), the Christmas Tree Lighting (featuring carols and hot cocoa!), Mock Rock (our spring lip-syncing and dance crew contest) and the Biola Egg (see E, above).
Undefeated Since 1908
Our football motto.
In 2019, Biola opened a new Veterans Center near the center of campus to provide a gathering and study space for the university’s more than 150 veterans and military-affiliated students. Biola is home to a strong veteran community, offering a range of events, scholarships and programs to serve them well.
World-Class Honors Programs
Biola’s Torrey Honors College is one of the most well-established and highly regarded honors programs in Christian higher education. This classical education program, based on the Oxford style of learning, is open to students from any major. Instead of taking traditional core classes, Torrey students are placed in tight-knit cohorts where they read and discuss some of the best books ever written, and get paired with a Ph.D faculty mentor who offers personal guidance. Across campus, the Stewart Science Honors Program is a highly selective program that gives STEM students opportunities for mentorship and research. The program’s connections have helped students earn research internships at institutions like MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Stanford’s Cardiovascular Research Institute, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and many others.
At Biola, we love the arts. Right in the heart of our campus, you’ll find three on-campus art exhibition spaces — the Green Art Gallery, the Bardwell Project Space and the main floor of the library — each of which feature a rotation of work from professional artists, faculty members and students. We’ve also got an inspiring collection of permanent installations, sculptures and murals, along with a steady stream of events. Learn about upcoming exhibitions and events at biola.edu/exhibitions.
Did you know that Biola has one of the most popular YouTube channels in higher education? Among all universities in the United States, Biola ranked 15th in total subscribers in the most recent analysis from uniRank, an international higher education directory. Our channel recently earned a “Silver Creator Award” from YouTube, a recognition for reaching 100,000 subscribers, and has since grown to more than 110,000 subscribers. Tune into youtube.com/biolauniversity for the latest videos.
A university would be nothing without its students! Over the generations, a lot has changed for and among Biola students — technology, fashion, career opportunities, cultural backgrounds, worship styles and so much more. But at least one thing has remained constant: Since 1908, each new incoming class has brought with it a desire to grow in God’s Word and to follow God’s calling on their lives. These days, most new Biola students belong to Gen Z, a generation facing a unique set of challenges and opportunities. And while a record number of their peers no longer identify with Christian faith or practices, it’s hard not to feel encouraged by the bright minds and bold passion of the current class of Biolans. God is at work, and we’re excited about what he is going to do.