Indiana Wesleyan University is honoring philanthropist and Hobby Lobby CEO Dr. David Green as the 2013 inductee into the Society of World Changers.
"David Green is a business leaders, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, an author, a patron of scholarship and culture-but above everything else, he is a servant of Christ like any one of us, a saved sinner dependent upon the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit," wrote IWU President Dr. Henry Smith in a letter to the IWU community Tuesday. "David Green attributes any success he has had to his trust in God, and God has used that success as a platform to minister to the world."
Green, 70, founded Hobby Lobby in 1970 as Greco Products, a miniature picture frames company that he started in his garage. Today, Hobby Lobby has 514 stores across the United States offering more than 65,000 products.
Green has appeared multiple times on the Forbes 400 list of the world's wealthiest people, most recently in 2012 with an estimated net worth of $4 billion. Green's Christian witness is evident to all: in 2006, Forbes wrote that Green "lives to spread the word."
Green is a noted phiolathropist. In 2010 he signed The Giving Pledge, an agreement among many of the world's richest people to give away more than half of their fortune before they die. Hobby Lobby's website lists a number of ministry partners, from Wycliffe Bible Translator to Harbor House, a boarding school for troubled teens. David Green has already received an honorary doctorate from IWU.
Through the Green Collection, Green has assembled one of the largest private collections of biblical manuscripts in the world, which he makes available to scholars and to the public through a traveling exhibit.
Dr. Smith says that IWU's intention is to honor God for the gifts he has given David Green beyond wealth and prosperity: the opportunities Green has had to serve the Kingdom of God.
"As Christ warns us in the Gospels, prosperity in a fallen world can be more of an obstacle to faith than a benefit," Dr. Smith wrote. "We thank God for David Green's example precisely for that reason: because he sees his wealth as God's possession rather than allowing himself to be possessed by it."
IWU established the Society of World Changers in 2003 to, "recognize role models who have exemplified the concept of world changers and whose live can serve as an inspiration to future generation." Previous inductees include television producer and author Robert Briner, author Frank Peretti, world-renowned surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson, legendary football coach Tony Dungy, writer and speaker Joni Earackson Tada, and gospel musicians Bill and Gloria Gather.
IWU will officially induct Green at a special convocation in the IWU Chapel-Auditorium on Wednesday, April 3, 2013. The traveling exhibit of the Green Collection will be displayed on the IWU Marion campus April 3, 4, and 5. The convocation and the exhibit will be open to the public.
Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian comprehensive university of The Wesleyan Church, which has its world headquarters in Indianapolis. The University was founded in 1920, and is committed to liberal arts and professional education.
More than 3,200 students are enrolled in traditional programs on the University's main campus in Marion. Another 12,200 adult learners attend classes at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, and online.