A University’s Own Cathedral


One institution’s failure can be another’s big break.

In recent years Chapman University had grown so big that it was starting to outgrow its Orange, California campus. The Christian-affiliated college with 6,000 students wanted to expand and add more academic and professional programs. But it didn’t have the space.

At the same time, however, the Crystal Cathedral (right), a megachurch three miles away in Garden Grove, California, built by “The Hour of Power” televangelist Robert Schuller, was $40 million in debt.

Well, problem solved. According to an Associated Press article in the Christian Science Monitor:

The Crystal Cathedral has endorsed selling its sprawling campus to a university as part of a bankruptcy reorganization plan, church officials said Wednesday. The church’s board of directors has backed Chapman University’s offer to buy the property if the church is unable to raise enough money to avoid a sale, the church said in a written statement.

Chapman University, based in the nearby city of Orange, has offered to pay $50 million for the property, possibly for use as a medical school or other health sciences offerings, said Mary Platt, a university spokeswoman. The university said in a statement Wednesday that the plan, if approved, would provide Chapman with much-needed space to expand.

The sale must be approved by a federal bankruptcy judge. Crystal Cathedral, which seats 2,736 and is made of 10,000 panes of glass, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year.

To avoid selling the building, the church tried to raise money through a “miracle faith” fundraising campaign. It collected only $172,775 of the $50 million needed. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer