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Hobby Lobby to donate Massachusetts campus to Arizona-based Christian university

by Silas Allen Modified: September 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm •  Published: September 21, 2012

Green said the company judged candidates for the donation on financial stability and adherence to Christian principles.

“We were inundated with people that were interested,” Green said. “But most of them were not seriously considered.”

One of the candidates for the donation drew the ire of Northfield residents and Northfield Mount Hermon alumni. Virginia-based Liberty University briefly emerged as a front-runner to receive the campus.

Residents and alumni protested the possible transfer, saying Liberty University and its founder, Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell, dishonored Moody's legacy. Alumni circulated a petition calling on Northfield Mount Hermon leaders to “lead the board in taking a public stand against” the transfer.

The petition called Liberty University “an extremist, homophobic, and intellectually narrow institution,” and said the transfer was inconsistent with provisions in the sale of the campus to Hobby Lobby.

In June, Green announced the company had narrowed its search to two finalists — Grand Canyon University and the North American Mission Board, the Southern Baptist Convention's missions and evangelism arm.

The donation isn't the Green family's first effort to support Christian higher education. In 2007, the family donated $70 million to bail out debt-laden Oral Roberts University. The family also has donated a campus to Zion Bible College in Haverhill, Mass., and built a 1 million-square-foot complex for Liberty University.