Blackstone Hall dedicated to founder

Relatives get together to celebrate William E. Blackstone’s legacy in a dedication ceremony.


Marika Adamopoulos

Marika Adamopoulos/THE CHIMES

Melissa Hedrick, Writer

On the 174th birthday of founder William E. Blackstone, Oct. 6, 2015, the Biola University residence hall named in his honor was officially dedicated.

“For us, it’s more than just one more residence hall to hold students. I think this gave a deeper sense of meaning to the way in which we can honor those who have gone before us, women and men both,” said President Barry Corey. “I hope that students would stop and look at the memorial of William Blackstone inside with a little bit more of his history so they know it’s more than just a hall, that they are part of this sacred trust.”

About the Founder

The dedication included a brief history of William’s life and a ribbon cutting and a closing hymn. Approximately 20 of Blackstone’s relatives were in attendance, including James Blackstone and Margaret Blackstone Harrell, who participated in the ribbon cutting.

“It’s wonderful because I was raised with the family’s story that W.E.B, Grandpa as he was called by all, was a founder, was a part of the founding of Biola and then there was no indication from Biola that was true so I thought, ‘Oh, maybe it’s a family myth that got confused in recounting or something,’ so it felt like such vindication and so neat that he was now being recognized,” Margaret said.

Paul Rood, politics and economics lecturer and grandson of Biola’s third president Paul Rood, has been in contact with the Blackstone family for the past five years as part of his longer project to collect information about William. Rood had written an article about “The Forgotten Founder” in 2013 and shared Blackstone’s mission work in China, founding of Biola and other endeavors he took on during his lifetime.

Favorite Hymn

Corey cut the ribbon alongside 11 other individuals that were a mix of Biola staff as well as James and Margaret. Afterward, music majors Justin Sinclair, Shane Cook and Jessica Stein played the hymn “All The Way My Savior Leads.”

“I especially liked the music at the very end because it really was his favorite hymn. It’s really old fashioned but [William] knew Fanny Crosby, the songwriter who wrote that song, and it was a famous gospel hymn from the 19th century,” Rood said.

Environmentally Friendly

Brian Phillips, senior director of facilities management, explained that Blackstone Hall is the first of Biola’s residence halls to receive Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design gold level certification. The building was certified due to the environmentally friendly building processes and the measures currently being taken to promote the health of occupants and clean, renewable energy.

“It was great to see students move in that first week of school and to see it actually used. Then continue to see how students are using the building is just a really exciting process and today is kind of the culmination to see it consecrated,” Phillips said.

Keeping Costs down

Not only is this building meant to use resources well, but has economy housing that helped lower prices for students. Economy doubles cost $2,300 a semester, around $200 less than most other double occupancy dorms on campus.

“I was thrilled that it’s the dorm where they are trying to keep the cost down, even though it sounds so wonderful, so more people can be included and finances won’t be an obstacle. I thought that’s perfect because that’s just the way he lived, trying to make Christ’s word available to everyone,” Margaret said.

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