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President of Biola University named Evangel’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2018

Published on Oct 3, 2018 by Paul K. Logsdon

Dr. Barry Corey, president of Biola University in La Mirada, California, has been selected as the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus for Evangel University. This is an award that is presented annually to one who has made significant contributions to their chosen field, church, community, state, nation or to the university.

“In Dr. Corey’s case, the Evangel Alumni Association changed the word ‘or’ to ‘and’ in recognition of his more than three decades of impactful leadership across the U.S. and around the world,” said Hector Cruz, director of alumni engagement. “He really has made significant contributions on every level.”

At Evangel, he was elected to serve as student body president and baccalaureate speaker. He graduated with top honors in 1984 and soon was asked to serve on the Alumni Association board of directors.

As a Fulbright Scholar, he served a year in Bangladesh. As a humanitarian, he served on the board of directors for Convoy of Hope and as a Rotary International Good Will Delegate.

As an educator, he taught at Boston College; served as vice president of Gordon-Conwell Seminary; was a leader at the Global Executive Leadership Forum in Cape Town, South Africa; and was a delegate to the Inaugural Conference on Theological Education in the former USSR.

2010 08 16 - President Barry H. Corey with Beard
Dr. Barry Corey is Evangel University’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2018. // (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Dr. Corey is the eighth president of Biola, a school with more than 6,000 students on 95 acres in Southern California. He began his tenure in 2007, and since then, he has steered the university to its highest enrollment, while successfully leading the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in Biola history.

In addition to his many presidential duties, he also serves on the executive committee of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and on the board of directors for the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.

And with all of this, somehow, he found time to run the Boston Marathon — twice!

“We are delighted to have Barry return to campus for Homecoming 2018,” said Dr. Carol Taylor, president.

The 2018 Distinguished Alumnus award for Evangel University will be presented to Dr. Corey during the Homecoming Banquet Saturday, Oct. 20, at 6:30 p.m., in the Bass Pro White River Conference Center.

“I first met Dr. Corey in 2007 when he was arriving as Biola University’s eighth president, and I was transitioning to Vanguard University,” President Taylor continued.

“I have followed his extraordinary service at Biola and in the circle of Christian College and University presidents, and I have had the opportunity to observe his leadership far beyond his campus. He is a national and international voice of influence within both Christian and secular communities, leading with the virtues he describes in his book Love Kindness. One of my great delights is to call Barry both colleague and friend.”

Discovering Kindness

A native of Massachusetts, Corey earned his B.A. in English and Biblical Studies from Evangel University in 1984. He then returned to the Northeast where he taught, researched, pastored and earned both an M.A. in American Studies and a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction and Administration from Boston College.

Through the twists and turns of his career, he was inspired to write Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue (Tyndale 2016).

“Kindness is neither timid nor frail. Instead, it is brave and daring, willing to be vulnerable with those with whom we disagree. It is the revolutionary way that Jesus himself called us to live,” he says.

Dr. Corey’s writing has also been featured in publications such as The Washington Post, The National Review, Relevant, and Converge, among others.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE: Friends that keep you humble

Dr. Corey remembers the impact of his Evangel professors and peers, saying, “Studying under exemplary faculty in biblical studies, philosophy and English helped hew my ideas about Christian worldview. Certainly leadership in student government, working with an outstanding team, was a tremendous experience. Both of these I’ve carried with me—as I have friendships.”

Focusing on friendships he reflects:

“The day I arrived at Biola in 2007, two old Evangel friends, Doug Green and Mike Leahy, came to meet me. Inside the office they prayed, ‘Dear God, may Barry begin this job with peace, confidence and humility.’

“The next morning, I drove the rental car to campus, arriving before 6 a.m. Tailing me was another car, a campus safety patrolman. I stepped out of the car into the dawn darkness to greet the silhouette of the officer. All I recall were his words and their tone. ‘Get back in the car.’

“I laughed. He didn’t,” remembers Corey. “He told me, ‘Get back in the car. Shut the door. Roll down the window.’ At that point I decided to comply.

“‘You here for a conference or something?’

“‘No, sir, it’s my first day on the job. I’m going to work.’

“‘You ran a stop sign. We take California traffic laws seriously here.’

“I learned a few big lessons day one on the big job. First, the employees at this place where I work take their jobs really seriously. That’s a good thing. Second, the previous day my two college friends prayed I would begin this job with humility, and the Good Lord answered their prayer in no time flat.”

Green, who is now the pastor of North Hills Church in Brea, California, has a few memories as well.

“What started out in brick dorms and wooden barracks has become an opportunity to see God’s favor rest on Barry,” said Green. “His 12 years as president of Biola University has impacted our globe, for thousands of graduates are everywhere, living out the motto:  Above All, Give Glory to God!

“His influence with local, state, and national leadership has redirected the future of religious freedom. His phone contact list is filled with the names of the most influential leaders of the Christian Church—all over the world. Daily, he does important ministry.

“However, in spite of all the people he might know, he knows his family and his friends. And, we know him.

“For this, I am grateful to not only have a front-row seat, but a backyard seat—a seat where we often talk about it all, and it sounds a lot like two Evangel College buddies still trying to figure out where God is going and how we can go where He is.”

Corey and his wife, Paula, have three children: Anders, Ella and Samuel.


SIDEBAR: What’s “nurturing your soul?” Hear how Evangel impacted Dr. Barry Corey on this Alumni Profile video.


EU Homecoming 2018 Honorees

Five alumni awards will be given during this year’s homecoming celebration, representing alumni from the three AG schools that consolidated in 2013 — Evangel University, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and Central Bible College. The recipients were chosen by the Evangel University Alumni Association board of directors.

For more information, contact Evangel University Alumni Relations Department at (417) 865-2811, ext. 7333.