Fresno names tiny town after Biola

Biola has admirers in Fresno county, who named their town after the university.

Abbey Bennett, Writer

At the first mention of “Biola,” most generally think of the university. However, these are not the only Biolans in the state of California. Instead, this name is also shared with the residents of Biola, a city in Fresno County named after this very campus.

With a population of only 1,037 people, according to the 2000 census, this small town lies on the west side of the county. The citizens of Biola are predominantly Hispanic with families representing 91% of the population according to that same census.

The entire town is only 0.6 square miles.

“I love the community of Biola,” said Irene Bruno, principal of Biola-Pershing Elementary School for the past five years. “It is an agricultural town and is in the middle of nowhere, but is definitely a place for families. Everyone knows everyone.” The town has not grown much, according to Bruno, but she says they are working on building a new community park.

“Strengthening neighborhoods is a cornerstone of my campaign,” said Ashley Swearengin, mayor of Fresno. “As the mom to two school-aged children, nothing is more important to me than having safe, clean and well-maintained neighborhoods. Strong neighborhoods are the foundation.”

William Kerchoff founded the city of Biola in 1912. Kerchoff, his wife Mary, and their family were citizens of Los Angeles.

Phil Cervantes, the current President of the Chamber of Commerce of Biola, loves the history of the city and was born and raised in Biola. He and his wife, Elaine, are raising their family there, just as his parents did. The city of Biola has many great traditions, including the Raisin Day Parade and Car Show. As a typical small town, the entire community comes together and celebrates on this special day, which falls on Saturday, Oct. 16 this year. This has been a longtime tradition, beginning in 1939. Every year a new Raisin Day queen is crowned.

Biola’s namesake is carrying on in this small town in Fresno County with the heart that we so often speak of – community.

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