In-N-Out CEO, Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson, Encouraged Graduates at Biola’s Commencement Ceremonies to Live Radically

More than 900 students received their diploma with a special gift, this year

May. 21, 2019 By Jenna Loumagne

Owner and President of In-N-Out Burger, Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson, not only gave Biola University’s commencement address at the spring ceremonies on May 10 and 11, but also generously donated meal cards for every graduate. More than 600 undergraduate and 300 graduate students received their degrees and an exciting surprise in their diploma.


“Some tonight will receive their bachelor’s degree, some will receive their master’s, some will receive their doctorate. Congrats — whatever your major, or double major or double double major,” said Biola President Barry H. Corey to the graduates. “As you cross the stage, you’ll get one of these, a diploma cover. Class of 2019, tonight you have something inside the cover. Thanks to the generosity of our commencement speaker, you’ll all get an In-N-Out gift card. Not instead of your diploma, but in addition to it.”


In-N-Out Burger is a private and family-owned business that Snyder-Ellingson’s grandparents first founded in 1948. Currently, Snyder-Ellingson is the owner and president of the company and committed to maintaining the well-being of over 27,000 members of the In-N-Out family. Snyder-Ellingson is closely involved with business operations and directs In-N-Out’s philanthropic efforts, such as the In-N-Out Burger Foundation and the Slave 2 Nothing Foundation.


During her address, Snyder-Ellingson shared her personal testimony with graduates and reflected on how God has used her despite hardships she’s face and mistakes she made.


“Jesus’ disciples were called to live differently, to do things that hadn’t been done before, to have authority unlike ever before in the name of the Holy spirit,” she said. “You have been equipped essentially well during your time here at Biola. Your studies have taught you to be dedicated to a calling placed on your life as well as allowed you to see how to integrate your faith into whatever field you pursue. You’ve worked hard to earn the degrees you will receive tonight. It’s an accomplishment to be incredibly proud of!”


The In-N-Out President encouraged Biola’s newest graduates to live radically.


“I want to encourage you that God can use the broken parts and the beautiful parts of your story for his glory,” she said. “So I will leave you with these two words: Live radically. … Go out into the world and live a life worthy of the calling of Christ. A life that is making an impact for the Lord Jesus Christ in our world.”


Beside her involvement with In-N-Out Burger, Snyder-Ellingson is also the co-founder and visionary for Army of Love, a non-profit organization that aims to unite the body of Christ through various training tools. Army of Love is co-founded by her husband, Sean Ellingson, and based on the Bible verse Isaiah 61:1.


At Saturday’s ceremony, an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree was presented to International Director of Operation Mobilization (OM), Lawrence Tong. Tong graduated from Biola University with a degree in communications and served as the summer missions director of Biola University’s Student Missionary Union. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of La Verne.


Tong is recognized for leading the work of OM in China through significant focus on welfare and agricultural programs, which have gained recognition from the Chinese government. His leadership experiences include serving on the Board of OM Singapore, as an OM county leader for Taiwan, and as a director of OM’s third ship, Logos II.


“I am a debtor to the OM heritage that has shaped my life and ministry,” said Lawrence. “My heartbeat is to encourage OM to remain true both to the Gospel and to our core values as we seek with passion to bring hope to the lives of people worldwide. For my part, I will continue to strive to give back to OM what the Lord has given to me, so that I — and we together, our generation of OMers — may be even more worthy of His calling.”


The first ceremony on May 10 included Crowell School of Business, School of Cinema & Media Arts, School of Education, School of Fine Arts & Communication, and School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The second ceremony on May 11 included Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Rosemead School of Psychology, School of Science, Technology & Health, and Talbot School of Theology.


View Biola's gallery of photos from the Spring 2019 ceremonies.


Visit the Spring 2019 Commencement website to purchase a digital download of either ceremony.


For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, manager of media relations, at (562) 777-4061 or


  • anita Jan. 24, 2020 at 1:06 AM

    Love In'N'Out and how they shine for our Lord and Savior Jesus! Amazing company, what a great speaker for commencement. Keep it up Biola. Be separate:)

Post a Comment

Your email will not be published as part of your comment.

Media Contact

  • Jenna Loumagne

    Assistant Director of Media Relations and Strategic Communication

  • Brenda Velasco

    Senior Director of University Communications


Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
© Biola University, Inc. All Rights Reserved.