More than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students began their collegiate careers at Biola University on Monday, Aug. 31. With “Biola at Home” this semester due to COVID-19, Biola President Barry H. Corey welcomed students to the Biola community virtually at this fall’s Convocation. Students joined in to watch Convocation from around the globe to start the new academic year with a total of 2,648 people tuning into the ceremony live. Corey encouraged students, who represent 34 countries and 47 states and U.S. territories, to remember to hold onto the hope we have in Christ despite the tough circumstances of today.

Referencing Joshua 24, Corey reiterated the story of Joshua encouraging his people to lean into God in the midst of struggle which relates to our experience right now. By choosing to follow God, Corey highlighted the responsibilities to stand firm, uphold God’s truth, and resist conforming to the gods who alter God’s creation.

“Students, put into practice the true and the virtuous, a view of the Christian life built off centuries of Christian practices, and sound theology, and deep thought, and faithful living,” said Corey. “The gods of this land want to silence voices from speaking truth if it doesn’t fit into their framework, and they want to coerce others to flow with the cultural tide or be called out, ostracized or invalidated.”

The lesson Joshua taught his people was to let our lives be fully consumed by God, let him lead us in our hardships, and reflect him by advocating for his truth.

“At Biola, we will not be consumed following the gods of this land by buying into untruths. We have chosen another way, and that is we look at issues through the lens of the gospel rather than adopting trending ideologies that seek to suck us in,” Corey said. “We can be countercultural for the common good.” 

Corey established that the Biola house is committed to following God’s way and remaining steadfast.

This year’s Chapel Programs and Student Development theme at Biola is “Instead,” which also has the word “stead” in it to highlight the hope we have in a steadfast God. Throughout chapels this year, the Spiritual Development team will be sharing scripture that explores the many “insteads” God offers when we surrender our lives to him and commit to doing the work he calls us to.

While new students were unable to attend orientation in person, Campus Engagement converted orientation to an online platform for students. Students can watch online University Welcome, Community Commissioning, and Convocation. Students also had several opportunities to meet other students through various online platforms. For more opportunities to engage with other students, download the Biola App.

Students will fulfill their chapel and school requirements and continue to grow in community together through “Biola at Home” this semester. Biola’s commitment to students remains the same — to deliver an excellent college experience through Biola’s exceptional academic offerings and welcoming Christian community. Biola looks forward to when it’s possible to reopen campus, transitioning from "Biola at Home" to "Biola in Person."

Written by Joy Blea, public relations intern. For more information, contact