Staff Editorial: Biola fails to memorialize former president

Former Biola president Richard Chase dies with very little comment from the university he led for 12 years.


Former Biola President Richard Chase died Friday, August 20 of natural causes at age 79. Dr. Chase, Biola’s sixth president, served for 12 years. Photo courtesy of Biola.

Chimes Staff, Writer

Biola and the Christian body bid farewell last week to one of its beloved members, former Biola University President J. Richard Chase. Chase died Aug. 20 at Windsor Park Manor in Carol Stream, Ill. He was 79.

During his 12 years of leadership from 1970 to 1982, Biola College emerged as Biola University and acquired the highly respected Rosemead School of Psychology. Chase’s photo hangs on the Horton Hall banner, which depicts leaders who helped shape this school, and Chase Gymnasium bears his name.

But those who haven’t heard much regarding his passing into the Kingdom can’t be blamed. Few efforts on campus have been made to honor the past president.

The announcement of Chase’s death was actually delayed for Convocation, when the gym was buzzing with incoming freshmen. President Barry Corey said the late president was a great example of zeal, and anonymous flower arrangements were set up in remembrance.

In stark contrast is Wheaton College in Illinois, where Chase served as president for 11 years following his time at Biola. Not only is his face the main fixture on the school website’s homepage, but Wheaton has devoted an entire website to his memory. Meanwhile, the paltry tribute article featured on the Biola website features a single video and concludes with a link to the Biola general donations page.

As students of Biola University, it is a shame to be part of a community that pays such little respect to a man who served our campus and students for 12 years, and whose impact reached beyond our campus. Moreover, as a Christian community, watching one of our own pass into His kingdom is cause for greater fanfare than Biola has thus far displayed.

Under the recent leadership of Barry Corey, Biola is looking toward the future — envisioning it, planning for it, and talking about it. Those are all excellent things. But expectations for the future should be accompanied by a thoughtful look at the past.

Biola owes its bright future to its storied and treasured legacy, and to the men — like Richard Chase — who crafted it.

We caution the Biola community against risking Biola’s legacy by slighting the past in favor of the future.

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