Biola University has received the largest donation in its 107-year history, a $12 million gift from Alton Lim of Long Beach, Calif., the university announced on Saturday, May 9, 2015.

The historic gift will help to fund construction of the innovative new Alton and Lydia Lim Center for Science, Technology and Health, a 91,200-square-foot building that will enable the university to meet growing needs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), said Biola President Barry H. Corey.

“The incredible kindness of Mr. Alton Lim to contribute $12 million to this project is a boost to our faith in God’s provision and our resolve that this necessary building will be constructed,” Corey said. “This modern facility is next on our list of construction projects as we respond to the growing number of Biola students studying in the sciences, the growing number of high school students interested in STEM and the projections for growing careers in these fields.”

The announcement of the gift came during a fundraising gala at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on May 9 to celebrate the public launch of the university’s $180 million campaign “A Soul of Conviction, A Voice of Courage: The Campaign for Biola University.” The historic fundraising effort — the first comprehensive campaign in Biola’s history — seeks to raise support for student scholarships, facilities, academic centers and online learning. There has been $152 million raised to date.

As the campaign’s centerpiece facility, the $63 million science building will provide 30 laboratories, three classrooms, research spaces, faculty offices, a rooftop observatory and all-new, cutting-edge technology to take Biola’s already reputable science programs to the next level.

The project, tentatively scheduled to open in Spring 2018, combines two areas of passion for Alton Lim and his family: Scripture and science. Two of Lim’s sons are physicians, his son-in-law is a dentist, and each family member is also a committed Christian. Part of the appeal of Biola’s facility was the opportunity to prepare Christian students to enter medical fields while also supporting their biblical knowledge and spiritual growth, Lim said.

“This is going to help generation after generation to study and try to help people,” said Lim, who insists that he wants all glory for the gift to go directly to God.

Lim, who was born in China, immigrated to the United States as a young man and served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. He later married Lydia, his late wife and loyal partner of 55 years, and went on to find financial success in business and investing. Though no member of the Lim family ever attended Biola, several family friends have been affiliated with the university — including several people who were instrumental in leading the family to faith in Christ. Family members said the gift stems from Lim’s desire to acknowledge that God has guided him and provided for him throughout his life.

“God has blessed him financially, and he wanted to find a tangible means to return back to God what is originally his,” said Daniel Lim, one of Alton Lim’s four children. “He acknowledges the fact that … every penny he’s ever had in his pocket belongs to God. As he puts it, in his later years now, he wants to be able to do something tangible to express that.”

For more information about The Campaign for Biola University, visit

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