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C.S. Lewis College Update

August 17, 2012

Note: With the permission of the C.S. Lewis Foundation, I’m sharing their latest update on a proposed C.S. Lewis College. If you are not familiar with the basic news or plans visit their site at the link given at the end. So, the following is from the C.S. Lewis Foundation:

In order to keep you updated with what’s happening with the Northfield Campus, we wanted to let you know that the Green Family of Hobby Lobby will be holding a press conference on September 21st to announce the recipient of the campus.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the Northfield Campus, we have recently received many questions from our supporters about C.S. Lewis College and our other programs. Because we know that there are many of you with similar questions, we’ve taken the most frequent ones and have included them below with our answers.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. Please pray for us as we continue forward with our plans for C.S. Lewis College and various events over the next year.

Question: What is the current status of the planning for C.S. Lewis College, particularly in regards to the Northfield Campus?

 Answer:  While we wait upon the Green Family of Hobby Lobby to make a decision on the fate of the Northfield Campus, our intention is as follows:

To obey God’s direction to establish C.S. Lewis College as a “Mere Christian” Great Books college with a School of Visual and Performing Arts.

To do so on the historic campus established by Dwight L. Moody should we gain the necessary resources at the right time so that Hobby Lobby grants the campus to us.

To do so on the historic campus established by Dwight L. Moody should another institution receive the campus, providing we mutually agree upon a plan to have C.S. Lewis College launched there.

To do so in another appropriate location if we are not able to utilize the Northfield campus.

Question: What are the next steps for the Foundation and the College? What happens now?

Answer: While we wait for the Green family’s decision on the Northfield campus, we are continuing to work on our plans for the College and are fundraising for its founding. We are also planning several conferences and retreats to be hosted in the next two years.

Question: What is the status of your other programs and events while you are working to launch C.S. Lewis College, specifically the Summer Seminars at The Kilns, the C.S. Lewis Summer Institute (“Oxbridge”), and Vacation with a Purpose?

Answer: We are definitely continuing many of the programs that have defined the C.S. Lewis Foundation over the years. Please see below for specifics for each particular event.

Summer Seminars – The C.S. Lewis Study Centre at The Kilns: The Summer Seminars are on hiatus this year for a few reasons. One is the London Olympics being held at the same time we usually host the seminars – our travel and program costs would have greatly increased. Secondly, we took the opportunity this year to make the home available to visiting scholars who otherwise might not have been able to participate in the Scholars-in-Residence program during the regular academic year.

Vacation with a Purpose – Northfield: As noted in recent news and on our website over the last few months, the Green family of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is seeking other potential recipients for the gift of the Northfield Campus. While this does not alter our vision for C.S. Lewis College by any means, it would not have been prudent to host a three week event on the Northfield campus this year.

Summer Institute – Oxbridge: We regularly hold this unique event every three years. Given that the last Summer Institute took place last year, in 2011, the next one will take place in Summer 2014.

Question: Why did the C.S. Lewis Foundation fall short of raising the necessary funding for theCollege by the December 31, 2011 deadline?

Answer: The campaign to raise $5 million in approximately eighteen months was an extremely “vertical” one.  Most campaigns of this nature take several years or more to raise that level of funding, but through hope, hard work, prayer, and the advice of several experienced development professionals, we took on the challenge. In the end, we fell short of the required funding to meet the Dec. 2011 benchmark goal. While the weakness of the economy and the very short timeline to raise the funding are factors, we ultimately did not find those who were willing to donate the large amounts necessary by that deadline.

Question: What have the funds raised so far for the College been used for?

Answer: The funding we have received has been used in the initial stages of founding the College and attaining operational viability, including:

Creating the necessary documents to found the College – totaling almost 500 pages on curriculum, budget, structure, governance, faculty and student life, and other related matters.

Developing, in close collaboration with several supportive college level financial officers, a well-tested seven year business plan for the College’s pre-launch and launch phase.

Meeting with numerous potential contributors to the C.S. Lewis College fund campaign.

Building a support base of over 630 Founders.

Engaging in numerous meetings with representatives of the Massachusetts State Department of Higher Education, the regional accrediting agency, and surrounding government, educational, and church related institutions.

Winning the endorsement and encouragement of many new friends in the Northfield local community and around the world.

Responding to numerous inquiries from students (and their parents) across the country who are eager to attend.

Communicating with over 300 faculty who have expressed keen interest in our vision for the College.

Opening up mutually rewarding relationships with community and college and university leaders throughout the Five College Area.

Question:  What will happen to the funds that were put into the Northfield campus for improvements?

Answer:  Virtually all of the improvements and upgrades to the Northfield campus, as well as on-going maintenance costs, have been funded by Hobby Lobby.

During the summers of 2010 and 2011, C.S. Lewis Foundation sponsored two “VWAPs” (Vacation with a Purpose), where volunteers associated with the C.S. Lewis Foundation provided labor for some specific projects (work that could be done by non-professionals).  All of the improvements (both those funded and performed entirely by Hobby Lobby as well as the work performed by C.S.Lewis Foundation volunteers) will eventually benefit the organization that is the recipient of the campus.

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For More Details:
Visit the C.S. Lewis College Website

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