Christian University Names Film School After In-N-Out Burger Co-Founder

Biola University renamed its film school after the fast food restaurant chain's co-founder, Esther L. Snyder. Her family made an undisclosed gift to the school that will help build a new studio and establish scholarships.
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  • The university board of trustees unanimously approved the renaming in honor of the gift and the Snyder family's legacy.
  • Ground will be broken for the new $92 million studio in October, the same month as In-N-Out Burger's 75th anniversary.
  • According to Biola, the Snyder family deeply appreciates arts and film.

Biola University film students will have greater access to education and top production tools, thanks to In-N-Out Burger, the famous fast food restaurant chain that originated in California.

The private Los Angeles County Christian university announced the renamed Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts on May 26 to honor In-N-Out Burger co-founder Esther L. Snyder, the unspecified gift to the university, and the family's "legacy of godly virtues."

"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," Lynsi Snyder-Ellingson, Snyder's granddaughter and current In-N-Out Burger owner and president, said in the announcement. "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."

The university will use the largest donation in its history to create a new $92 million, 52,100-square-foot studio to house the entire production process from ideation to presentation. It will include a soundstage, motion capture, Foley and scoring stages, mixing rooms, classrooms, and a full theater.

The gift will also establish the In-N-Out Burger Scholars Fund, a scholarship for foster and at-risk youths.

According to Biola, the Snyder family deeply appreciates arts and film. Snyder-Ellingson believes the arts can profoundly impact people's lives.

Biola plans to break ground on the studio the same month as In-N-Out Burger's 75th anniversary in October.

"We talk a lot about being more than just a film school," founding Dean Tom Halleen said in the announcement. "We're not only committed to equipping students with the professional skills required by the industry, but we also prioritize excellence in character.

"We want our students to be great at what they do, but also great in who they are as we prepare them to tell their stories across all the screens we use in everyday life: the movie screen, TV screen, computer screen, and their device's screen."