Oral Roberts University in Tulsa Raises Funds, Eliminates Last of Long-Term Debt

By Davis, KirLee | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 24, 2009 | Go to article overview

Oral Roberts University in Tulsa Raises Funds, Eliminates Last of Long-Term Debt


Davis, KirLee, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Oral Roberts University laid to rest the last vestiges of a $55 million debt load that shadowed the charismatic Christian campus for almost two years.

The university Board of Trustees' announcement Wednesday came just two days before the inauguration of Mark Rutland as ORU's third president - the first outside the Roberts family.

Word of that long-term debt first became public in November 2007 after a lawsuit filed by three faculty members challenged the administrative and spending practices of former President Richard Roberts.

As other lawsuits developed - all later dismissed or settled out of court - Mardel Chairman Mart Green stepped forward to offer a family gift of $70 million if the university would adopt sweeping administrative and policy changes. With Richard Roberts' resignation, ORU accepted the Green offer in January 2008.

Of the initial gift, $30 million went immediately to the long- term balance. The university raised the rest through its Renewing the Vision matching campaign, which by April of 2009 generated more than $22 million from 15,796 donors.

That spurred the trustees to raise $24.28 million, leaving just $719,999 in long-term debt.

The university said additional contributions erased that balance.

Green, now board chair of the trustees, praised the donors Wednesday for their support. …

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