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Parent Council

Parent Council Group Photo


The Biola University Parent Council is here to serve you! They are available to foster communication between the University and parents in order to improve the quality of the Biola experience for all students and their parents. The Council meets three times each year to act as liaisons to the Administration, provide hospitality at University events and work with specific fund-raising campaigns. Yet their primary role is that of parents, feel free to contact them with any questions or concerns that you may have.


Josh and Amy Burgess — Fort Worth, TX


We always loved the idea of our kids going to Biola one day, but never thought it would actually happen. We feel so blessed to have our son there now, and our daughter considering it as well! Texas is a long way from California, but seeing our son thrive academically, spiritually and relationally there has been pure joy for us as parents.

Our son, Thomas, is a junior at Biola this fall. He is a Computer Science major and is part of Torrey Honors College and the Stewart Science Honors program. He loved his freshman year and felt right at home from the beginning. We’ve enjoyed watching him grow in his faith, and form friendships we know will last a lifetime.

Our daughter, Grace, is entering her senior year in high school and Biola is her top choice. We look forward to many years of continued partnership with Biola.

We are happy to hop on a call and answer any questions you have.

Anthony and Arica Clement — Bay Area, CA

Anthony and Arica Clement

We’re Anthony and Arica and we’re both Bay Area natives. We have three wonderful children and our oldest, Amaya, is entering her second year at Biola. Biola has felt like home since we first visited in 2019. We loved the intimate feel of the campus and the peace we both experienced while visiting. Amaya entered Biola with an undeclared major but towards the end of her freshman year decided on a communications major. She settled right in, making friends and building relationships with other students and professors. She has a great group of friends that did so many things together; from attending a local church, to trips to downtown Disney. We’ve seen her grow and mature personally as well as spiritually. She also did well academically, making the Dean’s list both semesters of her freshman year. We are so thankful that God has led Amaya and our family to Biola. It was very clear from the beginning that this was God’s plan. Amaya applied for several schools, in and out of the area. She received her first acceptance letter from Biola along with an academic scholarship. This was a confirmation and answer to our prayers.

Please feel free to contact us ( if you’d like to chat about our experience which includes the full range of emotions or if you’d just like to pray about where God is leading your student.

Ron and Karen Firstbrook — Hollister, CA

Ron and Karen Firstbrook

We are Ron and Karen Firstbrook, and our daughter Emily will graduate from Biola with an Elementary Education degree in the Spring of 2023. Biola was an unexpected, yet easy decision for our family! Emily was pursuing a public college experience when we visited Biola on a whim and we all fell in love with what we saw, heard and experienced at Biola! Not every second of Emily's Biola experience has been easy, but all of it has produced great spiritual growth and personal maturity in Emily. Her first semester at school was a rocky start, but Emily and our family are committed to Biola and we are so grateful she is there! From professors who pray individually for students and reach out in times of trial, to Residence Life faculty to custodial staff, Emily has been cared for, challenged and prayed over consistently!

Emily has had the opportunity to work in the Library, was a Resident Advisor in the Blackstone dormitory and will next be the Community Coordinator for SEID. We love that Emily has excellent educational opportunities as well as phenomenal work and leadership opportunities at Biola!

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions! We love to share our experience as Biola parents and would love to serve you in any way we can. Email us at (Karen) or (Ron).

Gary and Cindy Gilbert — San Marcos, CA

Gary and Cindy Gilbert

Cindy and I are the proud parents of Lindsey Gilbert, a Psychology major and a member of the Class of 2023, and Cameron Gilbert who graduated from Biola in 2014 with Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.

As parents it has been a wonderful experience to watch Lindsey blossom from being the shy, quiet introvert she has always been to the outgoing, spontaneous, and free spirit she has grown into during her first year at Biola. Cindy and I are convinced that the personal strides Lindsey has made is due to the extraordinary love and acceptance she has received from the devoted professors, supportive staff and the amazing students of Biola.

We love our Biola family and Cindy and I are available to assist you in any way we can. God bless you all.

Heydi Grajeda— Adelanto, CA

Heydi Grajeda

My name is Heydi Grajeda and I feel very blessed that my daughter is a Biolan. My husband and I always dreamed that Grace and her siblings would be able to go to university. When it was time for Grace to choose where she was going to go to university we prayed to our Heavenly Father that he would lead her to a place where she can grow and mature in her faith. On April 3, 2019, Grace received her acceptance letter from Biola in the mail. That day we received the best news of our life. Grace immediately committed to Biola after receiving her acceptance letter and my husband and I were overjoyed. We had the privilege of visiting Biola’s campus in the summer of 2019 and from the minute I stepped foot onto campus I could feel the Holy Spirit’s presence. That day God confirmed to me that Biola was the place He wanted Grace to be and that the Lord had answered our prayers. Grace is now a junior at Biola and is majoring in Journalism and Integrated Media with a minor in both art and biblical studies. We have seen God’s goodness through her professors and classmates. Grace has been a part of New Student Orientation since the end of her freshman year. It was such a wonderful experience to see how much love radiated off of the New Student Orientation team and how Grace has flourished since she started working for NSO. Seeing Grace grow and mature reminds me of Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” The Lord has taught us to let Him work in her life and that we have nothing to worry about because He has everything under control. If you ever feel the need to pray or would just like to chat you can contact me at

Marcia and Ed Harper — Redmond, WA

Marcia and Ed Harper

We are Ed and Marcia Harper from Redmond, WA. We currently have three Biola students — Bethany (‘20), Nursing and Torrey Honors College; Katelyn (‘22), Pre-nursing and Torrey Honors College and Kristen (‘22), Christian Ministries. Our students are part of the Swim/Dive team. We have been part of the Biola family for 5 years. We have experienced trusting God with the financial commitment of Biola and encouraging our students to also trust and share in this commitment; the care and support of the Learning Center; challenges of mental health issues; students living far from home, transitioning from homeschooling in HS to college, and the exciting transition to NCAA D2 athletics. We would love to listen, support, and pray with you as part of the Biola family.

Please feel free to reach out to us regarding: Athletics, Torrey Honors College, Christian Ministries, Nursing, The Learning Center and accommodations, and navigating living out of state and staying connected to the Biola community.

Please feel free to contact us at

Fred and Lisa Hawley — Everett, WA

Fred and Lisa Hawley

We are Fred and Lisa Hawley from Everett, WA. Our daughter Marin is a freshman Pre-Nursing student at Biola (anticipated ‘25 grad), and our son Landon is a Biola graduate (’20), with a degree in Communications. Our entire family loves Biola, and we are so grateful that Biola has held firmly to teaching Biblical truth and equipping our kids to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ! Our son spent a fabulous four years at Biola, growing tremendously in his walk with the Lord, developing a great community of Jesus-loving friends, building strong relationships with his professors, gaining excellent learning and preparation for his future career, and having an absolute blast! That’s not to say there were no struggles along the way, but we don’t think we could have asked for much more in his college experience, and we are excited to watch our daughter’s own personal journey, during her years at Biola.

Biola has so much to offer! Our son’s years at Biola included playing almost every intramural sport available, being part of Biola’s Rich Kids Comedy improv club, competing in Biola’s Mock Rock, volunteering on a Missions Conference team, working various on-campus jobs (Student Ambassador, Intramural Sports Coordinator, TA for a professor), living in the dorms without a car the first two years, then off-campus with a car, finding a local church home and getting involved on their worship team, and starting out as an undeclared major before deciding on Communications. Both our kids received excellent academic scholarships from Biola. We’ve also walked with our daughter through preparation for the Biola Nursing program, with some of its prerequisites. Hopefully these experiences our family has had at Biola, can help us answer questions or concerns you may have, and we’d love to talk with you anytime, to share information, offer support and encouragement, or pray for you! Please feel free to reach out to us at

David and Kathy Juhn — Issaquah, WA

Kathy Juhn

Greetings from Seattle, WA, we are parents to Karen who is a rising junior majoring in Political Science. Karen’s first year at Biola was blessed with leadership opportunities, traveling to San Francisco, DC, and a summer mission trip to Uganda.

Her academic achievement has gotten her on the Dean's list. We are incredibly proud!

Here’s a glimpse of how Karen spent her first year at Biola. From the first week of orientation, Biola provided a variety of opportunities to learn, to grow and to serve in the community. Karen participated in SMU (Student Mission Union) as a President’s Intern, AEI (American Enterprise Institute) field coordinator, ISI (Intercollegiate Studies Institute) club member, Mock Rock (Men of Honor) *they won first place, SMU, and a summer mission trip to Uganda. In her free time, you could easily find her at Disneyland (season pass), hammocking, heading to the beach or escaping to lots of good places to read on campus as she enjoys good acai bowls.

As parents, it has been an absolute delight to see her personality blossom and to gain essential life skills during her first year in college, as she learns to lean on God and have more and more opportunities to understand God’s mercy and grace. She has met some wonderful new friends who share similar interests and are eager to share and understand their differences.

We are grateful to the faculty, staff, student organizations and everyone who has paved the path for students at Biola. If you ever spend time at Biola, you will experience the extraordinary love of God amongst everyone on campus. What a joy it is to be part of Biola Parent Council and we’d be delighted to be part of your journey at Biola. Please feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to eat, drink coffee or pray with you. We can also speak in Korean as both of us are bilingual. We look forward to meeting you!

Ted and Penny Malley — Arroyo Grande, CA

Ted and Penny Malley

We are Ted and Penny Malley, parents of four great kids, living in Arroyo Grande, CA. Our oldest, Katie (Spring ‘22) is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Art. She has participated as a chapel intern with Spiritual Development, helping run the mid-week After Dark chapel. We were thrilled when she told us that out of all of the great colleges she’d been accepted to, she had chosen Biola! Penny graduated from Biola with her teaching credential in 1994, so we knew what a rich education and strong spiritual foundation this school provides. Our son Tyler (‘25) is an Engineering major, excited to participate in the fantastic Engineering program where he spends three years at Biola and two years at USC, expecting to graduate with two degrees. We’d love to see their younger siblings attend one day, too! Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, we’d love to talk with you! E-mail us at and

Mike and Kristen McLaren — Phoenix, AZ

Mike and Kristen McLaren

In 2018-19, our nest officially emptied as we had two Eagles at Biola! As a Biola Alumni (Kristen, class of ‘91), we couldn’t have been more thrilled! Our daughter, Ryanne ('19), graduated with a degree in Piano Performance (Organ Minor) and loved being part of Torrey Honors College. She had amazing opportunities during her undergraduate years including participating in study programs/trips abroad to Italy, Ireland, and the UK. It was amazing to see her go from a freshman hesitant to leave home to a world-traveling academic! She attended the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) for graduate school. Our son, Seth ('22), is a Kinesiology major and enjoys singing in a choir and playing intramural soccer and softball. Both had to learn how to navigate challenges that come with living far from home, but it has been a blessing to see them grow in maturity and faith through both their struggles and successes! We love Biola and especially enjoy connecting with other families from out of state!

Feel free to contact us at

Daniel and Bernice Ramirez — La Mirada, CA

Daniel and Bernice Ramirez

We are Dan and Bernice Ramirez and live in La Mirada about 5 minutes from Biola. Biola is a wonderful place to send your children for an education. Our son Danny is going to be a junior this coming fall. He is a Bible/Theological Studies major and is involved in the scuba diving club and Alpha Bible Study club. He has developed strong friendships with other students from Biola and just loves being on campus even when he doesn't have school. If he isn't home we know he is at Biola or out for coffee with a friend from Biola. We love these ties of his.

The professors at Biola are so caring and pour Godly wisdom and advice into the students. They have helped Danny during difficult times. We are so grateful to them. The campus is also safe and very well taken care of. My husband and I enjoy spending time on campus walking around the track, getting lunch at the caf or getting coffee at Common Grounds. We love Biola and hope to see Daniel's younger siblings attend there as well. Biola gives you a top-notch education in a safe, Godly environment.

We would be happy to assist your student in any way we can since we are local. We would love to pray with you and/or your student for direction and peace. We are here if you need us. Your student is welcome to come over anytime! And you're welcome to call us for advice.

Fred and Jenn Schippa — San Diego, CA

Fred and Jenn Schippa

To begin, let us say “We love Biola!” From the moment we walked on campus in April of 2018, we knew Biola was and is a place where Jesus is Lord and God is exalted! Our twin Sons, Gabe & Brody agree. They began walking out their Biola journey in the fall of 2019 and have grown beautifully in the process, and in the Lord. Presently, both are Physics Majors, unless the Spirit leads differently. Both were accepted into the Torrey Honors program, but because their High School class had only 3 students, (they were called to pioneer a new Christian HS) they felt led to decline so as to consider a variety of classes. We have heard Torrey is a wonderful program, and definitely worth praying about for God’s consideration. This is simply how our family was led and it has been a good decision. Our son Gabe, got a job on campus with Event Services which was such a great opportunity for him and filled much of his time when he wasn’t studying. He and Brody also played Intramural Volleyball - both indoor and Beach - and had a blast! Brody quickly became a part of Student Orientation Services (SOS) and with this Team, became a part of the Biola legend of Mock Rock. It was very time consuming, and Brody said it was worth every minute of it! They both made the Dean’s List even with these commitments and we are grateful for the balance Biola offers. More than anything, we appreciate the fact that the Authority of Biola is unequivocally, Jesus Christ. We love praying for all things Biola, and were led to be a part of the President’s Circle to support in this way as well. We live in San Diego, and attend every Biola event we can, and they are always Spirit filled and awesome!

We also LOVE People, so please feel free to reach out to us at anytime. We are Fred & Jenn - and can be reached at or 858.248.3717. God bless you all!

Nate and Heidi Smith — Arcadia, CA

Nate and Heidi Smith

We are Nate and Heidi Smith, and our son Nathan is a Biblical Studies Major at Biola. Nathan describes admission to Biola as God “opening the big college door, fulfilling the desire of his heart.” Nathan is 26 years old, and he and his younger brother Stephen graduated from Arcadia High School together in 2013. What many would say is impossible was made possible with God’s intervention and the help of therapists, teachers, and peers. Nathan has autism and apraxia, which limit his initiation skills and his verbal output. In middle school, he typed that his goal was to attend Biola. Six years later, Nathan has completed the Bible minor requirements and is now embarking on the Biblical Studies major. Nathan lives at home with us in Arcadia and commutes to Biola two to three times a week. For the remainder of the week, Nathan takes general education classes at Pasadena City College. Nathan always has a shadow aid with him to assist him, and because all of Nathan’s lectures are tape recorded for Heidi to transcribe, we as a family have been blessed by the biblical teaching Nathan has received in each Bible class. We are also grateful for the kindness of all who welcome Nathan and believe in his ability. This vote of confidence contributes immeasurably to Nathan’s success. It may be that both of our sons will graduate again together in 2022, Nathan from Biola and Stephen from UCLA with a PhD in Statistics.

In the overflow of our gratitude, we would love to encourage you and your student. We look forward to meeting you, and if you have any questions for us, especially regarding the Learning Center accommodations for special needs, commuting, general education requirements taken at a Junior College, our email is Heidi can also be reached at (626) 664-0595.

Join Our Team

The purpose of the Parent Council is to foster communication between the University and parents in order to improve the quality of the university experience for Biola students and their parents. Council members will serve as liaisons, reflecting the views of the parents to the administration, and communicating with parents about the goals and plans of the University. Additionally, members will serve as representatives of the University to prospective students and their families to support the recruiting efforts of the University.

Service Opportunities:

  • Attend all Parent Council Meetings on campus at your own expense (three times a year, during Opening Weekend in August, Family Weekend in October and Grandparent's Day in April)
  • Attend Opening Weekend events and staff the Registration Booth each August on campus
  • Attend Family Weekend events each October on campus
  • Participate in the Spring Calling Campaign and call 10 parents of prospective students in your area (from your home)

How to apply:

Parents who have a love for God, an affinity for Biola and a desire to serve others are welcome to apply to the Parents Council. We ask that new parents wait one year before applying, to allow your student and yourself the time to settle in and learn about Biola. Applications and references are accepted January 1 to June 1 for the upcoming fall semester. In June, applicants with completed references will be notified to schedule a phone interview. A decision regarding acceptance on the council will be determined by July 1, following the phone interview.

Biola University Parent Council Application

Biola University Parent Council Reference