After a lengthy search, a historic campus founded by legendary Christian evangelist Dwight L. Moody in the 19th Century finally has new owners.
The National Christian Foundation, a nonprofit charity based in Georgia, has signed over possession of the Northfield Campus in Northfield, Massachusetts, to Thomas Aquinas College and The Moody Center during a news conference and public celebration event.
CBN News first brought you the story of Moody's school in 2012, reporting that the Green family, the owners of Hobby Lobby, purchased the property – reportedly worth $20 million – for only $100,000 in 2009.
Hobby Lobby originally gave the property to Grand Canyon University, a Christian school based in Arizona. Grand Canyon later backed out of the deal, citing unexpected expenses and conflicts with Northfield city leaders.
The Green family then donated the campus to NCF and charged the organization with the mission of finding new owners who would carry on Moody's legacy of evangelism and education.
"This has been a labor of love for all of us that have been involved with the campus," said Larry Edge, Northfield Campus LLC property manager. "We're excited about the outcome."
"Sometimes it takes a while to see things happen the way they should, but we feel very confident that we are headed in the right direction as we pass the campus on to Thomas Aquinas College and The Moody Center," he continued.
"Both of those organizations will work well together and be a part of this community," he added.
"When we went through that process, it (Thomas Aquinas) met every test...," stated Emmitt Mitchell, an NCF representative who will now act as president of The Moody Center. "There is no way they will ever let that campus (Northfield) go backward. It will be successful."
"This is a monumental day for Thomas Aquinas College," said Dr. Michael McLean, president of the college. "We are very grateful to the National Christian Foundation and its leadership for shepherding us through this process… we look forward to working and collaborating with The Moody Center, and we think this is an important moment in terms of the working relationship between evangelicals and Catholics as we join together to spread the gospel and evangelize our culture."
Thomas Aquinas plans to welcome the first Northfield Campus freshman class in the fall of 2018.
The Moody Center will use the campus to preserve Moody's legacy to inspire another generation to fulfill the Great Commission and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. That work will include building a museum.
"I really believe that in this generation, we've got 'Moodys' all around, we just don't know where they are yet," Mitchell said. "We need to find them and train them, give them a platform and a microphone so that they can go out and do the great work of God's servant, D.L. Moody."