OKLAHOMA CITY, Sept. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a privately held retail chain with more than 500 arts and crafts stores in 41 states, today announced that it intends to gift its 217-acre campus in Northfield, Mass. to Scholarships for GCU Students, an Arizona nonprofit organization. The administrative and legal aspects of the donation will be completed in the months following the announcement.
Scholarships for GCU Students is a supporting organization for Grand Canyon University Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides scholarships, grants and assistance to students attending Grand Canyon University (GCU).
"We are proud to announce Scholarships for GCU Students as the recipient of this beautiful campus," said Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby. "As a supporter of Christian higher education across the U.S., we hope this campus will provide a home for students to find their purpose in Christ and realize their full potential in life. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for this historic campus and for this community."The 217-acre Northfield campus was built in 1879 by legendary evangelist D.L. Moody and acquired by Hobby Lobby in 2009. The campus was formerly occupied by Northfield Mount Hermon School. The school occupied two campuses until 2005, when it consolidated to its campus in Gill, Mass., where it is currently located. Scholarships for GCU Students intends to enter into a long-term lease with Grand Canyon Education, Inc., which would provide GCU with exclusive rights to utilize and develop the campus in furtherance of its mission to provide students an opportunity to earn an affordable postsecondary education at a private, Christian university. The university expects that it could begin offering classes at Northfield in fall of 2014 if it is able to receive all necessary legal, regulatory and accrediting approvals. "Our organization is honored to be selected by Hobby Lobby as the recipient of this campus, and we are excited about the potential this generous gift has to support students who might not otherwise be able to afford to attend a private, Christian university," said Kathy Rother, president of Scholarships for GCU Students. "We are also excited about the prospect of developing a campus on such an historic site, where we can further D.L. Moody's legacy of making high-quality, affordable education accessible to all," said Brian Mueller, president and CEO of GCU. Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 as a private Christian university with a campus in Phoenix, Ariz. GCU offers online and campus-based degree programs through the Ken Blanchard College of Business, College of Education, College of Nursing, College of Arts and Science, College of Fine Arts and Production, College of Christian Studies and College of Doctoral Studies. As a Christian university, GCU encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace. The university is regionally accredited and consistently ranked among the top colleges offering online courses. Hobby Lobby also hosted a panel discussion on the future of Christian higher education as part of the day's events. Panelists included Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby; David Wright, provost and chief academic officer at Indiana Wesleyan University; Geoff Tunnicliffe, CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance; Shirley V. Hoogstra, vice president for student life at Calvin College and co-host, Inner Compass, a PBS program; Brian Mueller, president and CEO, Grand Canyon University; Jerry Pattengale, executive director, Green Scholars Initiative; and Carlos Campo, president, Regent University. Michael Cromartie, vice president at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, served as moderator of the panel. Jay Hein, president of Sagamore Institute and former deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, emceed the discussion. About Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.Based in Oklahoma City, Hobby Lobby and its affiliates, including Hemispheres and Crafts, Etc!, employ more than 22,500 individuals nationwide. Hobby Lobby was founded by David Green in 1972. The company has grown from one 300 square-foot retail store to more than 500 locations in 41 states. Hobby Lobby carries no long-term debt, is open only 66 hours per week and is closed on Sundays. For more information, visit www.hobbylobby.com. About Grand Canyon Education, Inc.Grand Canyon Education, Inc. (NASDAQ: LOPE) is a regionally accredited provider of postsecondary education services focused on offering graduate and undergraduate degree programs in its core disciplines of education, business, healthcare and liberal arts. In addition to its online programs, it offers programs at its approximately 115 acre traditional campus in Phoenix, Arizona and onsite at the facilities of employers. Approximately 44,400 students were enrolled as of June 30, 2012. For more information about Grand Canyon Education, Inc., please visit http://www.gcu.edu . Grand Canyon Education, Inc. is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), http://www.ncahlc.org. Grand Canyon University, 3300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85017, www.gcu.edu . Forward-Looking Statements