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Northfield residents celebrate new campus ownership

  • Attendees of the Northfield Celebration in the Auditorium on the former Northfield Mount Hermon campus, listen to speakers Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • David Powell, a board member of the Moody Center speaks at the Northfield Celebration in the Auditorium at the former Northfield Mount Hermon campus Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • David Powell, a board member of the Moody Center speaks at the Northfield Celebration in the Auditorium at the former Northfield Mount Hermon campus Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the Northfield Celebration in the Auditorium on the former Northfield Mount Hermon campus, listen to speakers Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the Northfield Celebration in the Auditorium on the former Northfield Mount Hermon campus, listen to speakers Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, May 02, 2017

NORTHFIELD — As a former member of the Northfield Mount Hermon School board of trustees, David Powell clearly remembers Founders Day 2005.

On that day, he delivered the Founders Day address before 1,100 students in the Northfield campus auditorium — the last time before the school consolidated to its Gill campus.

Looking out at the students, Powell lamented how the campus that his great-grandfather Dwight L. Moody founded in 1879 as the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies would be vacant, waiting for new owners.

“I thought ‘Next year there’s not going to be any (students)’” Powell said, speaking before several hundred people who gathered in the Northfield campus’ auditorium Tuesday afternoon.

“I drove by this campus and it was empty, and has been for the last 12 years,” he continued. “I was bound and determined to save Moody’s legacy in the town of Northfield.”

On Tuesday, the National Christian Foundation officially transferred ownership of the Northfield campus to Thomas Aquinas College and The Moody Center, ending the search for new owners to the excitement of Northfield residents, Powell and representatives from the three organizations.

“It’s an exciting moment for Northfield to have the campus buzzing again,” said Northfield resident Joanne McGee, glancing around at the crowd at the celebration’s outdoor reception.

“As someone who cares about the history of this place, to see the campus vibrant again is wonderful,” NMH Archivist Peter Weis agreed.

He remembered how tour buses would visit the campus, and tourists would stroll around, peering into the vacant buildings. Though the birthplace housed some Moody artifacts, Weis said appointments were needed to see it, making him particularly excited about The Moody Center, which would feature a museum in Revell Hall.

“It was never what it could be,” Weis said. “We’re in the school business, not the museum business.”

Over the years, Joan Stoia and her husband Steve met the campus’ overseers and prospective new owners through their Centennial House Bed and Breakfast, making them feel invested in seeing the campus in new hands.

“It’s a really great day,” Joan Stoia said. “There’ll be jobs, economic activity, concerts, plays, and a wonderful architectural resource comes back to life.”

“It’s a great opportunity for not only the residents of Northfield, but I think it’s something that will affect the entire region,” agreed Marquita Wilchcombe, program director at Northfield’s Redemption Christian Academy.

Wilchcombe said she looks forward to potentially partnering with Thomas Aquinas College and The Moody Center, perhaps to offer youth conferences. Looking around the auditorium, she said, it was clear the campus served to “unify the whole town of Northfield.”