A $10 million gift to Evangel University from the family that owns Hobby Lobby is the largest donation in the school’s history, and it will serve as the lead gift of a $22 million construction campaign that promises a new arena, among other amenities. (Evangel University photo)

A $10 million gift to Evangel University from the family that owns Hobby Lobby is the largest donation in the school’s history, and it will serve as the lead gift of a $22 million construction campaign that promises a new arena, among other amenities for the school. 

The gift comes from the Green family, which owns both Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian and Education, a supplier of homeschooling education materials. Mike Rakes, president of Evangel, said in a news release that the money will be used to build a new arena, field house and intramural field on campus, as well as to renovate a residential dorm. 

“We thank the Greens for their landmark contribution,” Rakes said in the news release. “This gift fuels growing momentum as we expand the university’s footprint to raise up spirit-driven students full of compassion with the skills to innovate in every vocation. This investment is the spark needed to continue transforming the student experience and move the university into the future.”

According to the release, the arena will be the new home for Evangel’s varsity basketball and volleyball teams, and it will also host concerts, chapel and other events. The field house will be home to Evangel’s football team, and will also provide office space for coaches and include a varsity weight room. 

The projects were among the top priorities that Rakes has identified since he was unanimously chosen as Evangel’s president last summer. The construction timeline has not been released. 

Cory Matteson

Cory Matteson moved to Springfield in 2022 to join the team of Daily Citizen journalists and staff eager to launch a local news nonprofit. He returned to the Show-Me State nearly two decades after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to arriving in Springfield, he worked as a reporter at the Lincoln Journal Star and Casper Star-Tribune. More by Cory Matteson