Aug. 20, 2017
Biola University President Barry H. Corey, commenced the academic year in Chase Gymnasium, Wednesday, Aug. 29 announcing this year's theme: From this place: Proclaiming Good News in a Changing World. With an audience of new students, returning students, faculty and staff, Corey bestowed the weight and joy of proclaiming the good news in a changing world. Drawing from Biola's roots, he referenced the iconic neon "Jesus Saves" signs that topped Biola's two towers in downtown Los Angeles — a proclaimation for the university's mission.
Discussing the need for vulnerability and risk in stepping out on a ledge to proclaim the good news, Corey stated, "Don't be afraid to set loose your creativity and imagination in how God might use you as a voice of redemption, and don't depend on the methods of the previous generation."
Referencing cultural events and popular television shows like Friends and the Northridge earthquake from 1994 — the year the majority of incoming freshmen were born — dean of students, Danny Paschall, emphasized how events shape our world. He emphasized the need for students to realize the significance of these years, while also looking past insignificant events that will become memories. Paschall stated he believes the incoming students are passionate about finding the quiet amidst the chaos found in a 24-hour news cycle and their generation of immediacy.
"Don't worry if people criticize you for being outside-of-the-box," said Corey. "Maybe you'll have the eyes to see a new helpless crowd on whom you'll have compassion... proclaim the Gospel through storytelling or scientific discovery, through blogging or designing something. Students of this generation, to help the crowds hear and follow the Good News of Jesus, sometimes it will take the unconventional and provocative."
The incoming class of more than 1,300 new students hail from 44 states and 18 countries. Corey commissioned students to be that unconventional generation — a generation who will proclaim the good news in a changing world.
"May we today, from this place, radiate streams of influence in every sector of society to be a blessing not only with compassion to the crowds around us, but to the nations," he said.
Corey shared how more than 200 Biola faculty drove into Los Angeles, Thursday, Aug. 23, to learn about how the Biola community can serve alongside the Dream Center — an organization serving those in need in the inner city as a step towards fulfilling this year's theme.
Biola welcomed the new undergraduate students and families into the Biola community Friday, Aug. 24. Biola cheerleaders welcomed families turning onto Biola Avenue and students were greeted by smiling staff, faculty, and students willing to lend a hand. As student orientation services leaders helped students carry in boxes under balloon arches and resident assistants handed students their first dorm room key, the hustle and bustle on campus was full of excitement and of course, Biola red.
With an official university welcome on Friday evening, a crowd of new undergraduate students and families gathered in the center of campus on Metzger Lawn and were prayed for by faculty and staff from every department on campus as they commenced their college education. Following the University Welcome, Target in Fullerton opened its doors for the first ever "Biola Night at Target!" All students, faculty, and staff were invited to enjoy discounts, giveaways, a live DJ, and more, while gathering all of their back to college needs.
Students enjoyed a kick-off to orientation events Saturday morning, followed by a fun activity filled afternoon and the memorable Biola communion service Saturday evening.
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