After four months of hosting tours, soliciting proposals and fending off controversy, the billionaire owners of a picturesque campus in western Massachusetts have announced two finalists in the competition to receive the property free of charge.
Finalists to receive the 217-acre Northfield, Mass., campus founded by 19th-century evangelist D.L. Moody are the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board and Grand Canyon University Foundation of Phoenix.
"It's our privilege now to gift this to an organization that will carry on the Moody tradition," said a statement from Steve Green, the Oklahoma businessman who bought the campus with his family in 2009.
Naming finalists marks the latest stage in a two-year process to give away the Northfield campus formerly owned by Northfield Mount Hermon School. Since buying it, the Greens have poured more than $5 million into improvements, but their initial plans were dashed in December when the C.S. Lewis Foundation missed a key fundraising deadline to launch a C.S. Lewis College.
Since then, dozens of institutions have been visiting and making proposals that show both an orthodox Christian vision and the financial means to pull it off. One early front-runner, Liberty University, became a target of protests from local residents and alumni of Northfield Mount Hermon School.
Liberty was among several schools not chosen because they weren't interested in receiving the entire campus, according to Jerry Pattengale, a college administrator hired by the Greens to help gift the property.
Finalists now offer radically different visions for ...