Biola Hall of Fame


Learn all about the foundation of Biola and the people that built it. From our original founders, to the presidents of yesteryear, read about the legacies left by those who helped make Biola all that it is today.

Dr. Reuben Archer Torrey

Reuben Archer Torrey, the son of a banker, was born in New Jersey on January 28, 1856. He entered Yale College at age 15 intending to become an attorney. After three years of worldly involvement, he trusted Christ as his Savior and decided to enter the ministry. In 1875, he graduated with honors and that Fall entered the Yale Divinity School where he distinguished himself by winning the Hebrew Award.
In Torrey's senior year, D.L. Moody, the great evangelist, spoke in chapel. Moody, unimpressed with Torrey's scholarly achievement, advised him: "Young man, you'd better get to work for the Lord." Swallowing his pride, Torrey asked Moody to teach him how to lead someone to Christ. After giving Torrey and a few of his fellow students several verses of Scripture, Moody charged, "Now gentlemen, go at it." Torrey did, leading to Christ a young lady whom he used to meet in the ballroom. That experience transformed his attitude toward the ministry.
Torrey's conversion did not settle all his doubts, however.  He was especially troubled by the Bible's account of the resurrection of Christ. Could he really believe it? Torrey studied the evidence carefully, and found it overwhelming.  There was no doubt that Christ had risen from the dead. "That conclusion," he recalled, "carried everything with it that was essential."
After graduation from seminary, Torrey was ordained by the Congregational Church and served as pastor of a Congregational church in Ohio where he met his wife.
Torrey then attended graduate school in Germany. He studied under Franz Delitzsch, the leading authority on Old Testament criticism and Hebrew in Germany and co-author of the famous KeiI & Delitzsch Commen¬tary on the Old Testament. Theodore Zahn, one of the foremost authorities on the New Testament and author of the monumental Introduction to the New Testament, was also one of his professors. During his studies abroad, Torrey settled the question of whether the Bible was the inspired and inerrant Word of God. He knew he could trust it, and he never wavered again. For financial reasons Torrey was unable to finish his graduate work in Germany. Years later Wheaton College awarded him the Doctor of Divinity degree (June 20, 1907).
From Europe he went to Minneapolis where he pastored the Open Door Church and organized the People's Church (Congregational). At the same time he became superintendent of the city mission. This work gave him further seasoning in the ministry and showed him the power of the gospel to transform lives.
Such a background produced a man who could handle himself and the Bible well, whether on skid row or among theological scholars. Said one biographer, "He could kneel beside a drunk in a mission or explain the gospel at an elegant dinner table."
When Moody was searching for a superintendent for his proposed Bible Institute in Chicago, he was advised to secure Torrey, which he did. Torrey designed the curriculum for the new Bible Institute which became the pattern for many all over the world. In Chicago, Torrey authored several books and also pastored the Chicago Avenue Church (later renamed the Moody Memorial Church), which Moody had established in 1564.
From 1902 to 1905, Torrey toured the world conducting evangelistic campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, India, Scotland, Ireland, and England, as well as America. During their travels, multiplied thousands trusted Christ.
In the summer of 1911, Torrey was invited to be the new dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. Torrey's biographer, Roger Martin, states,
“His acceptance, however, included two stipulations. First, he stated that a church should be organized to function in much the same capacity as the Moody Memorial Church was to the Moody Bible Institute. Second, and more important, the auditorium of the Institute and church should be able to accommodate at least 3,500 people for evangelistic services.”
The reasons for these conditions were aptly stated by his son Reuben.
“He considered this essential for the more adequate training of the stu¬dents as a practical laboratory, and also it would enable him to continue the evangelistic preaching mission to which he believed God had called him. It would also make possible a strong evangelical witness in the heart of Los Angeles and serve as a platform from which conservative leaders from around the world could be heard.”

He gained a most enthusiastic reception on the part of the Institute faculty and student body. The King's Business, stated, “The coming of Dr. Torrey to our Bible Institute marks a new era in the progress of our work.... When we felt the need and commenced to pray for a dean, we asked of the Lord the best man available for such an important position, but we had not thought the Lord would give us the biggest as well as the best.”
Under his direction the Institute became widely known as a well-equipped, well-staffed and well-conducted Christian school. Torrey’s vision for the Institute was to unite theory and practice in Christian activity in addition to specialized Biblical training.  One of Dr. Torrey’s noteworthy achievements was the adoption of a clear and concise Statement of Doctrine adopted by the Board of Directors, which is still the official statement of Doctrine held by Biola University.

Dr. Louis Talbot

Louis Talbot, the second President of Biola, was born October 19, 1889, in Sydney, Australia, of parents who had migrated from England.  His mother, a member of the "low Church of England," was vit¬ally interested in spiritual things. Consequently, she was responsible for the religious training of their eight children.

He was influenced by the likes of Rev. Benns, a Scottsman who pastored the Congregational Church in Sydney, and Dr. R.A. Torrey, who conducted an Evangelistic Campaign in Sydney, when Talbot was thirteen. However, the person who had the greatest influence on the life of Talbot was his older brother Jim, whom Louis adored and tried to imitate. As Jim ventured from Australia to America to attend Moody Bible Institute Talbot dreamed of doing the same and did so in 1911.

Talbot graduated from Moody in 1913.  His first pastorate was for the First Congregational Church of Paris, Texas.  While he was pastor of the fifty-five member church his brother, Jim became ill and soon after died. Jim’s death was a turning point for Talbot. Talbot vowed to God to imitate his brother’s ways.

Soon after, Talbot met his future wife, Miss Audry Hogue a native of Paris, Texas. They married December 27, 1916.

The years to follow included five different pastorates spanning over a decade.  He started in Texas, moved to Chicago, then to Iowa, then moved to Minneapolis and finally ended up at Philpot Tabernacle in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada before he showed up in Los Angeles. 

Minneapolis was the place Talbot began his radio ministry, which was to continue for thirty-five years.  On May 5, 1927, he broadcast his first radio program.

Later, Dr. Talbot received an enticing call from the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles. Dr. Philpot, who had recommended Talbot for the pastorate in Canada as his successor, was now resigning from the Church of the Open Door. They were experiencing some serious financial problems, and Dr. Philpot suggested to the Board, "What you need is that fireball Louis Talbot to get you out of this financial mess." Acting on his advice, they contacted Talbot, and he assumed his duties on January 1, 1932. Thus began his sixth and last pastorate.

This was the beginning of his relationship with Biola, which continued for the re¬mainder of his life. Not only was the Church in need of finances, but so was the Institute. As pastor, Dr. Talbot spearheaded a successful fund-raising campaign in September 1933, which resulted in a brighter picture for the Church; but he realized the unresolved financial problems would take more time and ef¬fort than he could give if he continued as pastor of the Church and as Pres¬ident of Biola. Therefore, he resigned from the Institute in February 1935. The Biola Board, quite content with Dr. Talbot's services, accepted his resignation "with regrets" because they were impressed with his effective methods of public relations and his willingness to serve at Biola without pay.

Immediately upon the resignation of Dr. Rood, the Board of Directors turned again to Dr. Talbot, who agreed for a second time to serve as presi¬dent. His first tenure of office extended from November 1932, to October 1935. His second, from October 1938, to September 1952. Dr. Talbot was used by God to bring the School out of its financial chaos and to put it again on a solid foundation during his presidency.

Talbot recognized in 1947 that he could not continue to represent Biola as fervently as before so he recommended they find a replacement. Not quick to react the school did not search for a new president.  After resigning from the Church of the Open Door in 1948 he continued his presidency. 

For the first time he received a salary from the school which he refused in the past. The remaining years of Dr. Talbot's service as President of Biola, 1948 to 1952, were spent in the general area of public relations and extensive worldwide travel, visiting various missionaries on the field, many of who were Biola graduates. These travels were beneficial to the Institute, helping to strengthen the personal ties between the school and its graduates on many mission fields; and it also opened the eyes of the Biola community, faculty, students, and friends to the post-World War II needs and conditions on the various mission fields of the world.

After twenty years of fruitful service to Biola, Dr. Talbot felt it necessary because of poor health to resign in September 1952, although he continued to represent Biola as long as his health permitted. The Board accepting his resignation "with deepest regrets," conferred on him the hon¬orary title of Chancellor of Biola.

Dr. Paul W. Rood

Paul W. Rood was born of Scandinavian immigrant parents in 1889 and spent his early life in poverty in the lumber communities of the Pacific Northwest.  At the age of 14, Rood attended an interdenominational evangelistic campaign in Portland, Oregon.  At the time, he noted that the meeting was held in a Baptist Church, conducted by a Congregational minister, when the invitation was given he prayed with a Methodist layman, and he was later baptized at the Salvation Army.   Rood led others in his family to faith and they joined a Swedish-speaking Covenant Church in Portland.   Rood felt called to the type of evangelical witnessing ministry that had led him to faith in Jesus Christ and in 1908 entered the North Park College and Seminary in Chicago, Illinois.

While completing his studies at North Park, Rood was involved in the Chicago Urban ministries of Moody Bible Institute and Billy Sunday’s Chicago campaigns, from which Rood began his life-long passion for public evangelism.   Paul Rood was called in 1916 to be pastor of the First Covenant Church of Seattle, Washington where he spent six successful years building a large and vibrant congregation and founded the Lake Sammamish Bible Conference and Camp.  In Seattle, Rood became involved in the national Fundamentalist movement and the battle to retain Biblical orthodoxy in America’s pulpits and seminaries.  

Rood continued his active involvement in Fundamentalist theological movements during the 20’s and 30’s while he was pastor of the prominent Turlock Covenant Church (then Beulah Tabernacle) drawing great crowds from throughout the Central Valley of California to outdoor evangelistic, Bible exposition, and prophetic conferences.    In 1929, Rood was elected president of the World Christian Fundamentalism Association (WCFA), the umbrella organization of the fundamentalist movement.   During these years, a growing amount of Rood’s time was devoted to Evangelism campaigns and theological conferences in the United States and Europe.  On a number of occasions Rood spoke at and participated in programs of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles.

In 1933 Rood accepted a call from the Lakeview Covenant Church of Chicago and returned to the city of his early ministry.   He remained president of the WCFA and held a month long evangelistic campaign at Moody Church during the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933.  During the difficult depression years in Chicago Rood was instrumental in founding the Slavic Gospel Association and the Christian Business Men’s Committee (CBMC).   Rood continued to be active in the leadership of these organizations during his remaining years.

Having been previously contacted by his close friend Charles Fuller to consider the presidency of Biola, Rood was invited again in 1935 and he accepted.    Arriving in Los Angeles during Biola’s darkest hour – salaries were three months behind and a million dollar debt hung over the school.  His first act as president was to call a day of prayer.  Classes were suspended and students and faculty joined together in prayer for the God’s provision and direction for the future of the school.  Rood committed himself to spiritual leadership, encouragement and fund raising during these difficult years.  In 1936, Rood organized a weeklong conference of Biblical exposition named in honor of Biola’s founder, R. A. Torrey.  This tradition, taken from Israel’s weeklong Feast of Tabernacles, a time of worship, prayer and study of scripture, remains an annual tradition at Biola to this day

During these years there was a revival among the student body at Biola that was sparked by testimonies of a similar revival taking place at Wheaton College.  Rood encouraged the Christian education program to also emphasize evangelism to children.  Irvin Overholtzer prayed with Rood at the Biola campus in 1935 over the possibility of an evangelizing mission to children, and out of  that  the Child Evangelism Fellowship was established. 

With Dr. Louis Talbot’s radio ministry at the Church of the Open Door and Rood’s national travels and networking to raise funds from potential supporters within the Fundamentalist movement, the needed financial support began to flow in, enabling the school to begin to bring salaries up to date and address the massive debt.   During this time, Paul Rood had the vision to raise funds to erect the massive electric signs “Jesus Saves” above the two towers of the Institute.   These signs were not only a great witness and call to salvation in Jesus, they were also a statement of trust and confidence by the leadership, staff and students of Biola in the God who would “supply all of their needs” (Phil. 4:19).

Paul Rood continued as president for only four years, believing that the task for which he had been called – to help Biola through the most difficult years of the depression – had been completed.   Rood resigned in 1939 to return to full-time work as an evangelist and president of the WCFA.   At the time Rood departed, salaries were up to date and the overall debt had been reduced to $300,000. 

Rood continued a global evangelistic ministry, continuing in the leadership of the WCFA, National Evangelicals Association and Youth for Christ.   A hallmark of his unique brand of dispensational Fundamentalism was his sense of humor, a passionate emphasis on soul-winning, and a loving spirit of partnership across theological and denominational divides, to promote a unity in the body of Christ.  Paul Rood’s public ministry was cut short by a stroke in 1950, following several years of evangelistic campaigns in North America and Europe.   Having lost his power of speech and mobility, he spent his few remaining years in a quiet life of prayer and correspondence before his death in 1956.  

William P. White

During its early years, a dean stood at the helm of the Bible Institute.  A few years after the bold and charismatic R.A. Torrey retired from the position, board members suggested that the Institute would benefit from a capable executive.
Among the several men considered to fill this new position, was Dr. W. P. White, the Pacific Coast representative for Moody Bible Institute.
    His offer to take the presidency was contingent upon an amicable agreement with the Moody Bible Institute.  Thus the school instated William P. White on June 14, 1929, a renowned speaker in fundamentalist circles. 
Dr. White graduated from Monmouth College in Illinois and from Zenia Seminary, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  Later, Monmouth College conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. He also held three pastorates, spanning a period of thirty years, twenty of which were as pastor of the United Presbyterian Church of Albany, Oregon.
Throughout his presidency, Dr. White worked tirelessly to buttress the Institute against the growing debt.  He sparked several fundraising efforts with the help of the board, but those were foiled by the sinking Depression economy. Nevertheless, White’s signature proclamation was, “The Institute shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.”
    Though his term lasted only three years, he was committed to the new position of President with no real “job description” to follow.  He was the first in a series of faithful presidents who would inspire the school to persevere through trials for the sake of the Kingdom.
Dr. White tendered his resignation on September 16, 1932.  The Board of Directors accepted it, effective October 16, and then voted to keep him on the staff with the title emeritus and editor of the King's Business.  Relinquishing both titles after six months, Dr. White then was appointed Biola's representative in the Pacific Northwest, a position which he held for eight years, with headquarters in Portland Oregon.

Sam Sutherland

The son of a Presbyterian minister, Dr. Samuel H. Sutherland was born September 4, 1900, in Fulton, Calif¬ornia. When Samuel was nine years of age, the family moved to Sausalito where he made his first public confession of faith in Jesus Christ.
Dr. Sutherland entered Oc¬cidental College in 1918. He grew spiritually as he heard messages at the Church of the Open Door by such well known speakers as Drs. C. I. Scofield, A. C. Gabelein, and Dr. R. A. Torrey. Dr. Sutherland became acquainted with Biola, since the church shared the same building. After graduation from Occidental College Dr. Sutherland worked for one year in the Pasadena YMCA Boys Division, and then entered Princeton Seminary in the fall of 1924.

Sutherland returned from Princeton and decided to remain true to his faith, inspired by the Word of God and the deity of Jesus Christ, eventually helping to stem the tide of the secular philosophies which would invade so many of the higher institutions of learning.

Following his Princeton Seminary graduation, in 1927, Dr. Sutherland became pastor of the Grace Presbyterian Church in Highland Park, California, which T. C. Horton, co-founder of Biola, founded.

After serving two years in Highland Park, Dr. Sutherland joined Rev. Milow Jamison, founder and Director of the University Bible Club, the purpose of which was to do extensive Bible Club work among the students on the Uni¬versity of California Campus and to develop similar clubs on other cam¬puses.

Dr. Sutherland's first official connection with Biola was in 1936, when he became Director of the Extension Department. According to him, accept¬ance of this position was absurd, from the human standpoint. The salary was $150,00 per month, and in those days Biola was usually several months behind in the payment of faculty salaries. However, he felt the Lord's leading. He was with Biola three or four years before receiving anything like a full salary. Eventually, he became Director of Christian Service. He was then promoted to be dean during a crucial time in Biola’s history. The School had just passed through the greatest financial crisis in its history.

President Talbot delegated the responsibility of the development of the academic and the facilities to the Dean. Gradually, Dean Sutherland began to move the School from a Bible Institute to a College, with the addition of a Grad¬uate School of Theology.

In September 1952, the Board of Directors appointed Dr. Sutherland as the fourth President of Biola. As President, Dr. Sutherland continued the progressive development of the School.

During the twenty-eight years as Dean and as President, he promoted other academic achievements, such as the move to the La Mirada Campus, the accreditation of the College by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and of Talbot Seminary by the American Association of Theological Schools.

In 1970, Dr. Sutherland concluded his presidency. He stated, "I went home one afternoon realizing every problem I had to deal with had become a headache and not a challenge, and I realized it was time to quit."

He held the title of President Emeritus after his retirement.

To the faculty, students, and friends of Biola, Dr. Samuel H. Suther¬land is best known as "Doctor Sam”.

J. Richard Chase

Dr. J. Richard Chase was born October 7, 1930, in Oxnard, California. The Chase family lived on a large farm, the Chase Brothers' Dairy. He was brought up in a strong Christian home in a small town three miles from the city. His last two years of high school he attended Culter Academy giving him a new direction for serving God. He also met his wife, Mary Sutherland, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Sutherland during this time.

In 1948 he enrolled at Biola. He graduated with a Bachelor of Theology degree in 1951. He attended Los Angeles City College in 1951 then Pepperdine in 1952 and received a B. A. degree in Speech Education in 1953 and an M. A. degree in Speech in 1954. While attending Pepperdine he taught part time at Biola then full time in the Speech Department. He received the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Speech in 1961.

During his time teaching in the speech department he developed the forensic program at Biola, forming debate teams that competed locally and regionally. After resigning from his teaching position he was appointed Academic Vice President in 1955. In the late 1960's, the board was searching for President Sutherland’s successor. Dr. Chase became the sixth and youngest President effective July 1, 1970.

During his twelve-year tenure several new programs were initiated and he was devoted to bring to fruition the goals of the School. In 1977, he oversaw the acquisition of the Rosemead School of Psychology.  His term culminated in 1981, when Biola College officially became Biola University.  Dr. Chase expressed his philosophy of a well-balanced Christian School at his Inauguration.

"There are two tyrants to sound education. They are tradition on the one hand, and fashion on the other."

Dr. Chase served as a good academic navigator, kept the School on the right course. In the midst of great changes within the school and the nation at large, Dr. Chase cultivated and maintained Biola’s commitments to academic excellence and sound Christian teaching. He resigned in 1982 to become President of Wheaton College.

Clyde Cook

Born in 1935, Clyde Cook grew up in Hong Kong. When the Japanese invaded in 1941, he, his parents and five siblings were imprisoned for six months in three separate concentration camps. In 1942, he was reunited with his poverty stricken family in South Africa.

They later settled in Laguna Beach, Calif., where Cook excelled on his high school basketball team. As the 1953 California Interscholastic Federation’s “Basketball Player of the Year,” Cook received lucrative scholarship offers from 13 colleges and universities. He planned to play for the University of Southern California, but, two weeks before classes started, he began to rethink his priorities.

He enrolled at Biola College to prepare for a professional Christian ministry. There, he met his wife, Anna Belle Lund (’55), and earned three degrees: a bachelor’s degree in Bible, a master of divinity and a master of theology. After a five-year stint as Biola’s athletic director and coach of the men’s sports teams, he, Anna Belle and their two young children, Laura and Craig, left as missionaries to the Philippines. But they returned four years later for Cook to head Biola’s missions department, which he did for 12 years. In 1979, Cook was appointed the president of Overseas Crusades, a missions agency (now called O.C. International).

Biola’s Board of Trustees watched as Cook grew Overseas Crusades and increased its financial stability. So, when then-president Dick Chase resigned in 1982, the Board invited Cook to be Biola’s seventh president.

Dr. Clyde Cook assumed the presidency of Biola University in 1982 when the school was in transition from college to university.

Cook addressed the school’s new mindset and focused on the structure and strategy for the new Christian university while entering a decade of declining enrollment and dwindling finances.

Cook served for seven years on the Board of Directors of the Christian College Coalition, and one year as its chair. He also served for six years on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and served as the president of that organization for two years. He served on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation task force. He served several years as a member of the steering committee for the Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents, and for six years on the executive committee of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of California.

In 2006 Cook announced retirement after twenty-five years of service. He noted that he wanted to allow a new president to usher in Biola's 100 year anniversary.

Barry H. Corey
Dr. Barry H. Corey became the eighth president of Biola University on July 1, officially launching the celebration of the University's centennial year.

Corey, a Massachusetts native with an extensive academic, fundraising and pastoral background, came to Biola from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Mass., where he served as vice president/chief academic officer and academic dean. In that role, he oversaw academic operations including faculty relations, curriculum development and degree/non-degree programs. Prior to that, he served as Gordon-Conwell's vice president for development, leading all external relations and fundraising programs - including a successful $54 million capital campaign.

Corey received a B.A. in English and biblical studies from Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., in 1984. In 1988, he received an M.A. in American Studies with a concentration in literature and religious history from Boston College's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He received a Ph.D. from Boston College in curriculum, instruction and administration (a higher education program) in 1992.

In addition to his educational experiences, Corey was a Fulbright Scholar with Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and lived in Bangladesh among the rural poor from 1990 to 1991. He has served on a number of non-profit boards including the Board of Trustees of “Convoy of Hope,” an international relief and development organization, and the Board of Trustees of “The Boston Theological Consortium” (a nine-member consortium of theological schools in the Boston area including Harvard University, Boston College and Boston University). He has also completed two Boston Marathons, one in 2004 and one in 2006.

Corey, 45, succeeded Clyde Cook, who retired in June as one of the longest-standing college presidents in the nation, serving as Biola's president from 1982.

He has been married to his wife, Paula, for nearly 16 years. They have three children: Anders, 14; Ella, 11; and Samuel, 8.