Hobby Lobby Stores founder David Green is already the world's largest evangelical giver. Now, Green is giving away something other than money: a 217-acre college campus.
Hobby Lobby announced today its plan to donate the former D.L. Moody Northfield Mount Hermon School campus in Northfield, Mass., to Grand Canyon University (GCU), a for-profit Christian liberal arts university based in Phoenix, Ariz.
Steven Green, Hobby Lobby's president, said in a phone interview that the family selected GCU because of the school's capacity to grow the campus and maintain its legacy.
"We were looking for somebody that had a Christian orthodoxy in line with what D.L. Moody himself would appreciate," Green said.
Brian Mueller, GCU president and CEO, says the campus represents a humbling opportunity for GCU, which hopes to open the campus for student enrollment beginning in fall 2014. Although the school will need to invest significantly in order to bring the campus buildings up to code and construct additional dormitories, the biggest challenge lies in establishing the GCU brand among Northeasterners.
"The legacy of this place—with D.L. Moody founding it, its heritage as a Christian institution—those are big shoes to fill," he said.
Evangelist D.L. Moody built the campus in 1879. Hobby Lobby and the Green family acquired the Northfield campus after it was put up for sale in 2009. The original plan to to establish a "great books" college through the C.S. Lewis Foundation fell through in 2011, after foundation failed to raise sufficient funds for the project.
Earlier this year, Hobby Lobby announced its plan to gift the campus to a Christian institution with the financial ...