Still Living on a Street Named Hope

Feb. 18, 2008 By Jenna Bartlo

LA MIRADA, CALIF. — In 1913, the Los Angeles Times hailed Biola University’s first official home as the “largest structure in Los Angeles and the largest and finest building in the entire world designed for purposes of religious instruction.”

The building, standing eight stories high, was once the tallest building in the Los Angeles skyline with its prominent sign displaying “Jesus Saves” to the city. The red neon sign, a Los Angeles historical landmark, relocated to the Los Angeles University Chapel in 1989.

Lyman Stewart, founder of Biola University, was a key figure in Los Angeles even before the institute. Stewart, founder and owner of the Union Oil Company, also established Los Angeles’ Union Rescue Mission in 1891, one of the largest missions dedicated aiding the homeless and poor men and women in the United States.

What began in 1908 with only eight students has grown to nearly 6,000 students, with record enrollment each fall. Now, 100 years later, with over 50,000 graduates, Biola celebrates a new century and new president, and a new era as one of the largest, fastest growing and prominent evangelical universities on the West Coast.

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Biola’s goal is the same that it has always been – to serve the global community. Historically, Biola has been connected to service since its beginnings with Lyman Stewart, Biola’s co-founder, also founded the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission, one of the largest missions in the nation. Biola will head back to the Union Rescue Mission on April 5 for a Block Party with carnival games, music, food and fun for the entire family.

On February 23, Biola University will host its Centennial Legacy Gala – the culmination of a year of celebrating Biola’s rich history – at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, just blocks away from its first home at Hope and Sixth streets. Biola students would frequent the Biltmore as a “free museum,” as it was known for displaying famous paintings and art pieces.

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) will speak at the ceremony on the impact that Biola made on his undergraduate education.

Biola’s newly inaugurated president, Barry H. Corey, who came to Biola in 2007 from Boston, is ready to lead the university into a new century. “One hundred years after Biola was founded, we still proclaim “Jesus Saves,”’ said Corey.


Biola University, founded in 1908, will celebrate 100 years of biblically centered Christian education on February 25. Located in La Mirada, Calif., on the border of LA and Orange Counties, Biola is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “National University,” which they consider the “major leagues” of higher education. Biola offers 145 academic programs through its seven schools, ranging from the B.A. to the Ph.D. For more information, visit

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Biola University
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