More than 1,100 graduates celebrated their graduation at Biola University on May 3 and 4. For many, it was the first chance they had to cross the stage and receive a diploma due to high school graduations being canceled due to the pandemic four years ago. Biola enhanced this year’s commencement ceremonies to make it extra special for those who didn’t have a ceremony in 2020.

Image shows Zach King
Zach King ('12) delivered the commencement address

“Many of you graduated high school four years ago, during 2020, and were deprived of the opportunity to celebrate due to the pandemic,” said Biola University President Dr. Barry H. Corey in his welcome to graduates at each ceremony. “It’s likely that, for many of you, tonight will be the only graduation ceremony you ever have.”

Graduates walked the stage to receive their diploma from Corey with nearly 4,000 guests at each of Biola’s ceremonies. Special music from Biola’s Gospel Choir led by director and recent American Idol contestant, Roman Collins, enlivened the crowd before the presentation of diplomas and a spectacular streamer shower punctuated the evening.

Zach King, social media mogul, YouTube filmmaker and Biola Cinema and Media Arts class of 2012 graduate, delivered the keynote address on Friday and Saturday. Paired with King’s address titled “Three Step Guide to World Domination,” King and Corey performed an epic lightsaber battle on Saturday, May 4 in honor of “Star Wars” Day. 

Image shows a graduate receiving his degree from Dr. Corey
A graduate receiving his diploma from President Corey

King focused on three important tactics to remember in order to thrive in the “real world” post-graduation: prepare for rejection, gamble on yourself, and repeat steps one and two over and over again. He asked graduates to make him a promise if they did achieve success: be kind and compassionate.

“Promise me that you are still going to be kind and compassionate. For we have a calling that’s higher than success. Jesus calls us to love people. And today more than ever, people don’t need another person to judge them, or trample over them while trying to get ahead for themselves,” said King. “While it’s exciting that you’re going to leave here and pursue your dreams, and you’re gonna be great out there, be sure to look out for others.”

After hearing King’s charges, graduates walked across the stage in celebration of their degree and shook hands with Corey as they received their diploma. After the recessional, graduates met and celebrated with their guests around Biola’s campus.

On Friday, May 3, graduates from the Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Crowell School of Business, Rosemead School of Psychology, School of Education, and School of Science, Technology and Health received their degrees.

On Saturday, graduates from the Crowell School of Business, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts, School of Fine Arts and Communication and Talbot School of Theology walked the stage to receive their diploma. Special recognition was given to the naming of the Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts, in honor of the generous gifts from the Snyder family of In-N-Out burger. The groundbreaking of the new studio facility will be on September 6.

For those who were unable to attend in person, a livestream of Friday’s ceremony and Saturday's ceremony were available and can be viewed for rewatching. Additional Biola commencement information can be found on Biola’s commencement website.

Written by Sarah Dougher, media relations specialist. For more information, please email