Photo by Andres Ramirez/ THE CHIMES
As the smell of fresh donuts on the tables around Chase Gymnasium filled the air, athletes crammed into their designated seats while other students hurried to find any available spaces before the Fall 2019 Convocation officially started. Then, Student Government Association president Renee Waller welcomed the approximately 1,200 incoming students, an apparent increase from last year’s admissions reports. After her reassuring welcome, President Barry Corey took the stage to share the latest changes to the Biola campus and community, such as the new Veteran Center, the addition of water polo and Athletics moving into NCAA Division II.
Corey used his summer windsurfing adventures to explain this year’s chapel theme “With.” He remembered having difficulty finding the balance between the ocean and the current. He associated his daily problems with strong headwinds, while God’s wind is like a cool breeze one feels while standing still.
“The Spirit’s tailwinds are stronger than life’s headwinds,” he said during his speech.
Provost and senior vice president Deborah Taylor hoped the theme will help the student body learn how to be with each other by understanding that each individual is going through their own problems. She urged students to stay with God through it all.
“We have hope for the future,” she said. “But we are also connected to the past.”
Taylor says her words come from experience and from learning to be with God in those times where she felt most alone.
For professor and chair of the Cook School of Intercultural Studies Alan McMahan, this year’s chapel theme means “[you] can’t do it alone.”
“[I hope the students] will be world changers,” he said.