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A $75.5 million gift could offer a new beginning for tiny Gordon College

Gordon College in Wenham has received its biggest gift 130 years of existence: $75.5 million.
Gordon College in Wenham has received its biggest gift 130 years of existence: $75.5 million. –Erin Clark for the Boston Globe

WENHAM — Gordon College administrators liken their campus to a “city on a hill,’’ an unabashedly evangelical school in a corner of the country dominated by secular universities. But the question in recent years has been: For how long?

Now, the 130-year old North Shore college has been thrown a lifeline — one worth $75.5 million.

In an age when small, liberal arts colleges in New England shut down or merge on a regular basis and religious schools chase a narrowing pool of students eager for a faith-based education, an anonymous donor has given Gordon a vote of confidence. The $75.5 million gift, received recently, is the school’s largest and more than doubles its current $50 million endowment.