With pomp and pageantry, Biola University formally installed Barry H. Corey as the eighth president in its 100-year history on Friday morning, November 2, 2007.
And with reverence and humility, Corey promised to lead with a steadfast commitment to the word of God and a desire to see God glorified.
“Let the record show that today's pageantry is not about me,” Corey said in an address that capped off an elaborate inaugural convocation (Download inauguration address transcript PDF). “This is a moment for all of us, one more time, to give God glory for who he is and for what he has done through Biola University for 100 years. We stand in expectation for what is still to come.” The inauguration, witnessed by more than 3,500 people in Chase Gymnasium and in satellite locations on campus, marked a significant moment in the history of the University, which is in the midst of celebrating its centennial year. The most recent inauguration had come 25 years earlier, meaning most in the Biola community had never experienced such an event.
Eight tolls of a historic bell from Biola's original downtown Los Angeles campus – symbolic of each of the University's eight presidents – heralded the ceremony's start.
As the voices of the Biola University Chorale swelled, a procession of brightly robed delegates that included presidents, provosts and officials from 25 colleges and universities marched solemnly into the gymnasium.
Following a prayer, Scripture reading and hymn, a series of speakers issued presidential charges and words of encouragement to guide him during his time in office.
Citing the example set by Christ, Pete Menjares, associate provost of diversity leadership, urged Corey to follow the biblical charge to servant-leadership.
“It is a charge not to seek repute for oneself, but rather to build others up for the sake of the Kingdom,” Menjares said. “It is a charge not to wield influence, but to submit to the authority of God. It is a charge not to be served, but to serve.”
President Emeritus Clyde Cook, who retired in June after 25 years of leadership, presented Corey with the first of four presidential symbols of office: a Bible, symbolizing Biola's commitment to the Word of God (see more about the symbols below).
Also presented were a cross, symbolizing a commitment to the Great Commission; a replica of the cornerstone at Biola's original downtown Los Angeles location, symbolizing a commitment to Biola's founding mission; and a medallion, symbolizing a commitment to academic excellence.
In a 52-minute address, Corey emphasized the need for all members of the Biola community to believe God's word with conviction and courage – not just knowing and affirming the Bible as truth, but being transformed by it.
“It's not merely grasping God,” he said. “It's being grasped by God – the mind and the heart alike, with conviction and with courage.
Making frequent allusions to Biola's founders, he made clear his resolve to stay rooted in the University's founding mission while “envisioning stronger and ever more courageous ways to fulfill our vision.”
In coming years, he said, the University will seek to strengthen its academic programs, broaden its reach, build upon its commitment to spiritual transformation and provide students with greater cross-cultural experiences.
“Our vision is to be a global center for Christian thought and spiritual renewal,” Corey said. “And the goal of this vision is not our own prestige or renown or to bask in our gains. The goal of our vision is to see the glory of God.”
Commitment to God's Word
Presented by Clyde Cook, President Emeritus, Biola University
After 25 years as the president of Biola, I could not be more pleased with the man God chose to replace me. President Corey has demonstrated a spirit of humility and a passion for prayer during his initial months as Biola’s eighth president. I know that God will use him to accomplish great things for this University as it enters its second century of impacting the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.
At this time, it is the desire of the Biola community to present President Corey with four “presidential symbols of office.” These four items represent the principles and purposes that have guided Biola’s founders and past presidents – myself included – since the Bible Institute of Los Angeles was established in 1908.
It is my privilege to present the first of these, a Bible, as a symbol of Biola’s commitment to God’s Word. As a community, Biola affirms the Bible to be inerrant, incomparable and indispensable. God’s living and active Word is the foundation of our lives and all that we stand for as an institution.
President Corey, may the words in this Bible ever serve as a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. May they be your constant source of guidance and strength.
It was the prophet Isaiah who wrote, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” And so may the Word of God never cease to shape and sustain Biola University.
On behalf of the Biola community and its past leaders, we commission you to uphold the University’s commitment to God’s Word throughout your presidency.
Commitment to the Great Commission
Presented by Alissa Rounsevell, President, Student Missionary Union
Before he ascended to heaven, Jesus spoke to his disciples, saying:
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:18-20)
These words have given Biola University its purpose. As a community, we believe that we exist to serve God and His Great Commission in reaching the world for the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christ-followers, we are His light to a dark world. It is our duty and privilege to make disciples.
For 100 years, Biola University has been equipping men and women to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ. And for more than 80 of those years, Biola’s Student Missionary Union – the largest student-led missions organization in the United States – has been training students for the specific purpose of spreading the gospel to diverse cultures around the globe.
President Corey, as a symbol of Biola’s commitment to the Great Commission, I am honored to present you with this cross. May it serve as a reminder both of Christ’s atoning sacrifice for us and our mandate to spread the Good News to every tribe, tongue and nation.
On behalf of the Biola community and the Student Missionary Union, I commission you to uphold this mandate throughout your presidency.
Commitment to Biola's Mission
Presented by Carol Hawkins, Member, Board of Trustees and Descendant of Lyman Stewart
The cornerstone of the original Bible Institute building in Los Angeles was laid on May 31, 1913, and dedicated with these words: "For the teaching of the truths for which the Institute stands, its doors are to be open every day of the year, and all people, without reference to race, color or class will ever be welcome to its privileges." Lyman Stewart together with T.C. Horton founded the Bible institute, now Biola University, 100 years ago. Lyman Stewart was also my great uncle. It is an honor for me to follow in his steps to serve Biola now as a trustee member and to present Biola’s eighth president with this replica of the cornerstone my grandfather stood next to in 1913.
President Corey – may the words inscribed in this stone almost a hundred years ago, be placed in your office as a remembrance of what Biola was founded to be – a place for teaching the truths of God’s Word. The words read:
Dedicated unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. Rev. 1:5
On behalf of the Biola community and Stewart family, we commission you to uphold this promise throughout your presidency.
Commitment to Academic Excellence
Presented by John Siefker, Chair, Board of Trustees
Since its inception, Biola University has been an institution firmly committed to the integration of faith and learning. This is a place where students are challenged both in the development of character and in the discipline of the mind. Both are essential to the training up of Christian leaders who embrace and live out a thinking person’s faith.
As a premier Christian university, we believe it is our obligation to empower each new generation of students to think and practice from a biblical worldview, across all fields of study. In so doing, it is our desire to equip all students to excel in the vocations to which God has called them.
As we continue onward with a vision to be a global center for Christian thought and spiritual renewal, it is my privilege to present President Corey with this academic medallion, a symbol of Biola’s commitment to academic excellence.
President Corey, may this medallion serve as a reminder to you of Biola’s commitment to academically rigorous, biblically centered education. And may Biola continue to be a place where students are stretched intellectually to become leaders in the church and society.
On behalf of the Biola community and the Board of Trustees, we commission you to uphold the University’s commitment to academic excellence throughout your presidency.
Introduction of Presidential Charges: Gary A. Miller, Provost and Senior Vice President
The inauguration of a new president is a very special time in the life of an institution, when reflection and celebration go hand in hand. It is also much more than a series of events and tradition of academia. It offers Biola University the opportunity to connect with all of its constituents – many who are here today participating in this ceremonial and historic occasion.
This is a time for members of the Biola community to renew their commitment to the founding principals and mission of the institution, to charge and commission our new leader with the most important presidential responsibilities and to celebrate the future of Biola under the leadership of our new president, Barry Corey, as he directed and lead by our Lord Jesus Christ.
President Corey, today you will be charged and commissioned to uphold the most sacred and core principals of Biola University. May you also receive encouragement and inspiration from these spoken words and responsive participation to lead and to serve us as Biola’s eighth president.
Charge to Servant Leadership: Pete Menjares, Associate Provost of Diversity Leadership
The Gospel of John offers this account of our Lord:
John 13:3-15 -- Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”
Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.
As we gather on this historic day, this remarkable example set by Christ reminds us of the radical charge of the Christian servant-leader. It is a charge not to seek repute for oneself, but rather to build others up for the sake of the Kingdom. It is a charge not to wield influence, but to submit to the authority of God. It is a charge not to be served, but to serve.
President Corey, as you lead Biola into its second century, we charge you to follow the model of servant-leadership provided by our Lord, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.
We charge you to humble yourself continually before the Father, prayerfully allowing yourself to decrease, so that through you He will increase.
Lastly, we charge you to heed the prompting of the Holy Spirit as you seek to walk in love and service, working sacrificially on behalf of the students, faculty and employees whom God has entrusted to your care.
May God bless you and grant you wisdom as you devote yourself to leading – as you have said – not with a scepter, but with a hoe.
Charge to the Biola Community: Dennis H. Dirks, Dean, Talbot School of Theology
On this momentous day, with all of its pomp and pageantry, we who are gathered here must remind ourselves that our role is more than that of spectator. President Corey has been called by God to lead Biola University, but the responsibility for this institution’s success does not fall on his shoulders alone.
Each of us in the Biola community has a role to play. As students, we must pursue academic and spiritual growth. As faculty, we must seek wisdom and knowledge while remaining humble. As staff, we must foster an environment where biblically centered education can flourish. As alumni and friends, we must labor to further the cause of Christ, both on this campus and far beyond its boundaries.
And so today, as we install a new leader, let us take the opportunity to recommit ourselves to the mission and values of Biola University. At this time, I would ask that all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends please stand, whether here or watching from remote locations. Please raise your right hands.
Members of the Biola community, I charge you to commit yourselves to the truth. As a body of believers, our lives are staked on the inerrant, authoritative Word of God. We pledge ourselves to the study and integration of Scripture, through which we may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I charge you to dedicate yourselves to transformation. As a Christian community of grace, we long to see spiritual growth and renewal in the lives of those around us. We pledge to encourage one another and consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
I charge you to devote yourselves to testimony. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are called to spread the message of salvation through our words and deeds. We pledge to preach the gospel of the kingdom in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.
Lastly, I charge you to uphold the mission of Biola University. We pledge to support Biola’s mission of biblically centered education, scholarship and service – equipping men and women in mind and character to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Candles glowed and music serenaded as more than 250 invited guests gathered in celebration and support of Barry H. Corey on Thursday night, the eve of his inauguration as Biola University’s eighth president.
Inside an elegantly decorated tent on Metzger Green, dignitaries shared a dinner and watched on as several of Corey’s family members and longtime friends poked fun at, expressed admiration for and offered advice to the new president.
“Keep the ‘B’ not only in Biola but in your heart,” said Walter Kaiser, a former president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, referring to the days when Biola was an acronym for “Bible Institute of Los Angeles.”
He encouraged Corey to place a higher value on the Word of God than anything else. “Where else can we go to find perspective and meaning and significance for our lives, for our times, for our learning and for our institutions?” said Kaiser, whom Corey considers his “scriptural mentor.”
Others shared humorous moments born out of years of friendship: Corey chasing down a station wagon in Ohio as it drove off with his wallet; Corey driving a convertible with the top down in the rain; Corey triumphing year after year in an annual Thanksgiving “Turkey Trot,” using his running skills to win a pie.
But mixed in were emotional stories about Corey’s loyalty, leadership and commitment to the Lord.
“To know Barry Corey is to know joy,” said Steve Macchia, a longtime friend. “He exudes it. He embodies it.”
The dinner – the first of several inauguration festivities scheduled throughout the weekend – also provided time for the first of the weekend’s many presentations.
Board of Trustees member Stan Jantz gave the new president an official centennial ring, symbolic of the authority that God has entrusted to him.
“May you be humble as a leader, may your influence by significant, and may you continue to seek the authority of Almighty God in your life,” Jantz said.