Corey, Kanye and Convocation [Updated]
As President Barry Corey stepped to the microphone in front of the students, parents and faculty filling Chase Gymnasium Wednesday morning, he set the tone for the convocation chapel and the year ahead with three words: “Here we go.”
At the chapel, Corey welcomed the largest incoming class in Biola’s history, more than 1,200 freshman and transfer students and over 500 graduate students. He also welcomed 16 new faculty members.
“We are so pleased this day to invite you to this community,” Corey said to the new students at his fourth convocation since becoming president of the university. Corey’s message, which he based on Romans 12:11 and entitled ‘Courageous and Contagious Zeal,’ encouraged students to seek transformation in their lives and in the world around them.
Corey stressed that enthusiasm and zeal are not synonyms. “Enthusiasm is to zeal what Kanye is to Mozart,” Corey said, evoking laughter from his listeners.
Challenging the audience to be zealous, Corey defined the word as deep resolve, not a fleeting spiritual high. Zeal, he said, is what is necessary to take risks and glorify Christ in everything.
“It’s a deep, burning, ardent passion, to live obediently for Christ and in service to His world,” Corey said.
Corey surprised new students with his infamous “Hiptionary” urging students to understand the difference between zeal and ‘anticipointment,’ which is defined in his “Hiptionary” as ‘excitement that quickly fades into distress’.
“Zeal is not subject to the whims of our emotions,” Corey said.
Both new and returning students alike appreciated the chapel service and Corey’s address. “I have never had an experience like this in my life,” said freshman Jinny Song. “It was really good. I’m really excited to be part of this community and grow in Christ.” Scott Connolly, a junior transfer student from San Jose State University, described the service as moving.
“My dad went here in the past and he told me the chapels were pretty awesome,” Connolly said. “But it’s kind of different in person when you actually see it.”
Senior Joshua Carvalho, who transferred to Biola at the start of his junior year, knew credit would be given to all students for convocation chapel, but said he wanted to start his semester off right.
“Honestly, the past couple semesters, I haven’t been too on top of my chapel attendance,” he said. “I thought, ‘this semester I need a fresh start, I need to be disciplined and I need to make it a habit to come [to chapel].’”
As students exited the gym, they were given free copies of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life Journal, a complement to his best-selling book. Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church, donated the journals to encourage the student body as they study this semester. Students also received a pamphlet of Biola’s 12 aspirations for the next 10 years.
Corey said he knows that as the school year begins, students often play video games or watch reruns of The Office, but he urged students to make those things the exception. “I encourage you to invest your time in nurturing your God-given gifts, sharpening your minds and taking advantage of the abundant opportunities for growth at Biola,” Corey said.