Hobby Lobby founder David Green is the keynote speaker for the 14th annual University of Mobile Scholarship Banquet on Oct. 1, 2019. Tickets are on sale for the university’s signature event that raises scholarship funds for University of Mobile students, while bringing a speaker of national prominence to the Mobile community.
General admission tickets are $150 and may be purchased now at umobile.edu/banquet or through the University of Mobile Advancement Office at 251.442.2587 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsorships start at $1,500. Higher-level sponsorships include an opportunity to meet David and Barbara Green during a VIP reception prior to the banquet, with priority seating at the event.
The evening begins with a silent auction hosted by UM’s Torch Society at 5:15 p.m. at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center in downtown Mobile. The banquet kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with entertainment from the Alabama School of the Arts at the University of Mobile.
David Green built retail giant Hobby Lobby from humble beginnings, with a $600 loan to purchase a molding chopper. He and wife Barbara began production of miniature picture frames in the family’s garage in 1970. By 1972, the business had grown, and Hobby Lobby began operation with 600 square feet of retail space located in north Oklahoma City. David left his position as store manager and area supervisor with TG&Y stores to devote his full attention to the family’s business.
Today, Hobby Lobby is the largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer in the world, with sales totaling more than $5 billion in 2018. Hobby Lobby employs approximately 35,000 company-wide and operates over 800 stores in a 47-state area, opening about 50 stores each year. The headquarters is located in just over 10 million square feet of manufacturing, distribution and office space in Oklahoma City. Affiliated companies include nine Hemispheres Fine Furnishing stores, located in Oklahoma and Texas, as well as Mardel, a popular Christian office and educational supply chain found in seven states. Hobby Lobby also has offices in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China. David is the CEO of Hobby Lobby and a buyer of merchandise. Barbara remained active in the development and growth of Hobby Lobby Stores, working as a buyer of the Christmas merchandise for 20 years, and presently is helping in the buying of the Home Accent merchandise.
“We believe it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past; we trust Him for our future,” David says.
He is the author of two books, More than a Hobby, and his most recent book, Giving it All Away in addition, Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously. This latest book shares some of Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court battle involving the Affordable Care Act but also the larger story of family legacy and the power of generosity.
The Greens have received numerous awards, are active on a variety of boards, and involved in a myriad of ministry projects. David is a lifetime member of The Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame, part of the Entrepreneur of the Year Academy. Barbara was awarded the Canterbury Medal for Excellence in Religions Freedom, the highest honor bestowed by The Becket Fund.
David and Barbara have been married 58 years and are the proud parents of two sons and one daughter: Mart Green, chief strategy officer of Hobby Lobby; Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby; and Darsee Lett, vice president of art/creative. Son-in-law Stan Lett, is executive vice president of Hobby Lobby. Together, they enjoy 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. They are actively involved at their church as well as many national and international Christian ministries and charities.
The UM Scholarship Banquet brings speakers of national prominence to the Mobile area while raising scholarships for UM students. Previous UM Scholarship Banquet speakers included Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney, New York Times best-selling author and leadership expert John Maxwell, Fox News Channel’s chief political anchor Bret Baier, neurosurgeon and presidential candidate