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Biola University Will Get $92 Million Film School

A gift on behalf of In-N-Out Co-Founder Esther L. Snyder is the largest in the school’s history.

June 2, 2023

City News and Staff Report

LA MIRADA — Biola University’s film school will be named after a co-founder of In-N-Out, the college said this week, after an unspecified but “significant” contribution after the Baldwin Park-based burger chain.

According to Biola, the gift on behalf of Esther L. Snyder is the largest in the school’s 115-year history, and it will help fund a $92 million 52,100-square-foot film school studio facility and establish the In-N-Out Burger Scholars Fund to support educational opportunities for foster and at-risk youth.

Esther Snyder, with her husband Harry, founded In-N-Out in Baldwin Park in 1948. She died in 2006, but left a long legacy of giving, according to the company.

The film school will be dubbed the Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts.

“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, Christ-like love of others, entrepreneurial tenacity and upright business principles are virtues worth living,” Biola President Barry H. Corey said in a statement.

The new film studio will include a soundstage 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, according to the university.

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

“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, granddaughter of Esther L. Snyder and owner/president of In-N-Out Burger, said in a statement released by the university. “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.”