The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Gazelle University's Leap of Faith - Make Grand Canyon University a Non-Profit Again





http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/grand-canyon-university-begins-process-of-returning-to-non-profit-status

Newly-incorporated Gazelle University, Inc. is in the early stages of buying up to $1 billion worth of Grand Canyon University’s property. 
The move could be the first step in returning GCU to a non-profit university, which is how the school existed for 55 years before becoming a for-profit corporation in 2004.
GCU management expressed interest last year in transitioning the University into a non-profit, allowing “the University to conduct itself … on a level playing field with the other traditional universities with which the University competes,” according to financial filings.
Gazelle University is organized as a non-profit.
Gazelle would use $1 billion of bond proceeds to pay for the “core educational assets” of Grand Canyon University,3300 W. Camelback Rd., according to details of the project obtained by ABC 15.
GCU turned itself into a for-profit enterprise in 2004 to “remain in operation,” according to financial filings.
GCU’s CEO, Brian Mueller, said that it would require about $2 billion in order to transition GCU into a non-profit, according to a February article in the Phoenix Business Journal.
GCU’s Mueller incorporated Gazelle University in November of last year and is on the five-member board of trustees of the new venture, according to business documents on file with the state.
The new Gazelle University will aim to provide an “an academically-challenging, values-based curriculum, from the context of a Christian heritage.”  GCU is a Christian university.
Bob Romantic, a GCU spokesman, said the creation of Gazelle University is a preliminary step in the process of turning GCU into a non-profit.  The university’s name would not change if the process continues as planned, Romantic said.
The cost of re-paying the up to $1 billion in bonds would not lead to a tuition increase, Romantic said.
A main reason for turning the university into a non-profit is to avoid paying taxes, Romantic said.
The university faces a potential $100 million tax dollar next year, according to Romantic.
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http://www.bestvalueschools.com/cheap/online/masters-in-psychology-degree-programs/

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2015/04/26/how-grand-canyon-university-plans-to-grow-its.html

In an effort to grow to 400 acres, Grand Canyon Education Inc. (Nasdaq: LOPE) is methodically acquiring apartment complexes and vacant land surrounding its Grand Canyon University campus at 33rd Avenue and Camelback Road in Phoenix.

Plans call for buying property and apartment complexes surrounding the campus so that eventually the GCU campus will be bounded by 35th Avenue on the west, Missouri Avenue on the north, 27th Avenue on the east and Camelback Road on the south.

***

GJ - Grand Canyon University has an interesting history. The school began as a Baptist institution but trusted its funds to the Arizona Baptist Foundation, which promised people 15% returns - clearly fraudulent. When someone looked at the numbers, everyone lost 90% of their money. GCU swore off the Baptist Church and businessmen bought the school.

They promised to renew the campus, which was very much loved by alumni, and they did, as the photos show. They expanded the local campus and grew the online operations, adding master's and doctoral programs. The school is not denominational but conservative in its approach to the Scriptures and doctrine - unlike WELS, LCMS, the Little Sect, and ELCA.

Mueller was the man behind online success at the University of Phoenix but they passed over him for the top job. He left when GCU hired him to be their CEO. They received, as a gift, a $100 million campus from the Hobby Lobby founder. Now they are taking the school back to non-profit status, which will be good in this climate of dumping on for-profit schools. The same thing happened to magazines years ago. They were going in the red as businesses but survived as non-profits.



Dana College, in contrast, was not allowed to make the same transition and closed. It was an ELCA college I visited long ago on band tour.

April 06, 2013 3:30 am  •  
0
BLAIR -- Harriet Waite still can recall the feeling of hurt when she found out Dana College was closing in the summer of 2010.
A Dana graduate and executive director of the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce, Waite was dismayed to see the college close its doors.
Waite, and the rest of Blair, finally got some good news about the college this week when it was announced that Midland University was submitting a bid to purchase the property.
While many details still need to be worked out, Waite welcomed the news.
"If Dana had to close, this is the next best thing that could happen to this campus," Waite said. "The Dana alumni and Blair community are excited about the possibility of it being a college, very much like it was for 126 years. What else can you be but elated?"
Blair Mayor Jim Realph, a Midland graduate, said he first was contacted by MU president Ben Sasse to set up a meeting to discuss the purchase plans.
It was a conversation and opportunity that Realph welcomed with open arms.
"It's a great event for the City of Blair because this is a campus, and anybody else we've had look at it basically couldn't utilize it the way it is intended to be utilized," Realph said. "It'll be great to have it back up here."
Along with providing a boost in sales tax revenue and filling jobs in Blair, Realph said college students also would bring other important characteristics to the community.
"It just adds a whole bunch to the quality of life of a community," he said. "You bring in some more things academically with plays and the stuff that they put on. It just gives us a lot more options."
Waite said many former Dana graduates continue to work in Blair, and she thinks that again would be the case if the college reopens.
"We have a lot of alumni that have stayed in Blair," she said. "Without that, we're constantly having to go outside and try to bring people to Blair, whereas when they've been in Blair for four years they know the community and they tend to stay and live here and take a job if there is a job available."
Sasse said the soonest students would return to Dana would be the fall of 2015.
If the sale goes through, Midland would seek to develop partners that could help sustain Dana for the long term. There also would need to be renovations to the campus.
Sasse also said no decisions have been made about what programs will be offered at the new Dana, but said there are no plans to move programs from the Fremont campus.
"What develops in Blair will largely be guided by the desires of our partners in the Blair and Dana communities, but we will be distinctive institutions rooted in a shared heritage and commitment to student success," Sasse said.
Ben Wilcox, a social studies teacher at Fremont High School, graduated from Dana in 2003 and is excited about the possibility of seeing students back on the campus.
The past few years, he said, have been tough when he has had to tell people that the college he graduated from no longer existed.
"I went to college there; I graduated from there," said Wilcox, who also wrestled at Dana. "If they do open the doors back up, I can say, 'Hey, that's where I graduated from college and it does exist.'"
Wilcox also is confident in Midland's ability to do things the right way at the Blair campus.
"Anytime you have a president like Ben Sasse, anything's possible," he said. "He's done great things at Midland."
Lauren Fischer, a senior at Midland, was getting ready for her sophomore year at Dana when it closed.
Like many other students, Fischer took advantage of several special perks offered by transferring to Midland.
Like Wilcox, Fischer was excited to hear about the future of her former school.
"I am pretty happy about it because instead of the campus just being dead and rotting, it's actually coming to life again," Fischer said.
Fischer is also happy that the Blair campus would retain its Dana College name.
"I think that's amazing because it shows they actually respect Dana's history, too," she said. "There are a lot of things that happened on that campus and a lot of history that happened at that college, so to actually keep that Dana name is great." 
Money for the Midland bid came from donors, something for which Sasse is grateful.
"We are incredibly blessed to have generous friends who appreciate our commitment to an intimate, supportive environment for students and a desire to give even more young people the tools to fulfill their potential," Sasse said. "Dana and Midland are distinct communities whose interests are closely aligned as we build a brighter future."