Biola University to Name Film School in Honor of In-N-Out Burger Founders

Biola University will name its top-ranked film school the Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts in tribute to Esther L. Snyder, co-founder of In-N-Out Burger, in honor of a significant financial gift committed to the school and their family’s legacy.
Biola University’s Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts will break ground on its 52,100 square-foot studio facility in October 2023.

Biola University will name its top-ranked film school the Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts in tribute to Esther L. Snyder, co-founder of In-N-Out Burger, in honor of a significant financial gift committed to the school and their family’s legacy. 

“This naming of the Snyder School and the inspirational vision of Mrs. Esther Snyder will be a testimony to students and alumni for generations that humility in leadership, Christlike love of others, entrepreneurial tenacity and upright business principles are virtues worth living,” said Biola President Barry H. Corey.

The gift, which is the largest in the school’s 115-year history, will allow for Biola to break ground on a new 52,100 square-foot film school studio facility and establish a new scholarship — the In-N-Out Burger Scholars Fund. This expendable scholarship will help make it possible for foster and at-risk youth to study film in the Snyder School. 

“We talk a lot about being more than just a film school. We’re not only committed to equipping students with the professional skills required by the industry, but we also prioritize excellence in character,” said Founding Dean and industry veteran Tom Halleen.

The $92 million state-of-the-art studio will add to Biola’s existing production facilities, including a third soundstage along with additional edit suites, production offices, motion capture, Foley and scoring stages, mixing rooms, color correction lab, classrooms, faculty and staff offices and a full theater for screenings as well as to host industry lectures, forums and other live events. 

“Our family values the distinctly Christian education Biola University offers and are honored to play a part in continuing to offer students opportunities to make really impactful film pieces that change people’s lives,” said Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson, granddaughter of Esther L. Snyder and owner and president of In-N-Out Burger. “God is a huge part of the In-N-Out story, and I have no doubt my grandmother would be grateful to know her name is associated with a school recognized for excellence in craft and character.”

Biola plans to break ground and begin construction on the building project in October 2023, aligning with In-N-Out’s 75th anniversary.

Biola’s School of Cinema & Media Arts became a school in 2018, though the program dates back decades. It has been ranked as one of the top film schools in the nation by multiple industry-leading sources, including for the past six years by Variety, and also by The Wrap and MovieMaker Magazine.

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