Oral Roberts University
|Motto||Educating the whole person|
|Location||7777 S. Lewis Ave. Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.|
Navy and gold |
|Athletics||NCAA Division I – The Summit|
Oral Roberts University (ORU), based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the United States, is an interdenominational, Christian, comprehensive liberal arts university with 4,000 students. Founded in 1963, the university is named after its late founder, evangelist Oral Roberts, and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
The school fronts on South Lewis Avenue between East 75th Street and East 81st Street in South Tulsa. Sitting on a 263-acre (1.06 km2) campus, ORU offers over 65 undergraduate degree programs along with a number of masters and doctoral degrees. ORU is classified as Master's University by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. ORU was also ranked as one of 123 institutions in the 2012 "Best in the West" regional list produced by The Princeton Review.
ORU offers undergraduate programs in theology, business, music, communication arts, modern languages, behavioral sciences, graphics, education, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematical science, engineering, physics, English, history, humanities, government and nursing. The university also has a graduate seminary and fully accredited graduate programs in Business and Education.
Students in the College of Science and Engineering with a GPA of 3.4 or higher have an 86% medical school acceptance rate and 75% dental school acceptance rate. ORU students have been accepted into more than 70 medical schools nationally, including Johns Hopkins University, Washington University, and Duke University. Because of the high acceptance rates for medicine, ORU signed an early assurance program with Oklahoma State University college of Osteopathic Medicine in 2011, allowing high achieving students to receive conditional admission to OSU's medical school program. ORU is also one of the few undergraduate colleges in the southwest to have a human cadaver dissection class. While ORU is considered a Christian University, the College of Science and Engineering does not ignore evolutionary theories to teach Creationism.
ORU is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of two commission members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), which was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. A major distinction of ORU is its high number of additional specialized program accreditations, especially for a university of its size. The following is a list of the academic colleges with the recognition of specialized accreditation, along with the name of the accrediting body.
|College of Business||Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)|
|College of Education||National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP)|
|College of Science and Engineering||Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)|
|Anna Vaughn College of Nursing||National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN)|
|College of Theology and Ministry||Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS)|
|Social Work||Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)|
The university was founded by Oral Roberts in 1965 "as a result of the evangelist Oral Roberts' obeying God’s mandate to build a university on God’s authority and the Holy Spirit. God’s commission to Oral Roberts was to 'Raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim, where My voice is heard small, and My healing power is not known, even to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased'." The first students enrolled in 1965.
The school was accredited in 1971 by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is also accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Oral Roberts' son Richard Roberts was named president in 1993. In October 2007 Roberts took a leave of absence, citing a lawsuit filed by former ORU professors. Tulsa evangelist Billy Joe Daugherty and Oral Roberts were named executive regent and interim president of the university amid a widely publicized scandal and Richard Roberts resigned the following month.
In October 2007 the school was reportedly "struggling financially" with over $50 million in debt. ORU's operating budget for 2007-2008 was more than $82 million. However, in the second quarter of 2009, the university's debt was reduced to $720,000 as of result of a number of simultaneous efforts including a $70 million gift from the Mart Green family of Oklahoma City and the $25 Million Dollar Matching Campaign, a part of the university's Renewing the Vision effort. On September 23, 2009, it was announced at the end of the university's chapel service that all of the university's long-term debt obligations had been met and the school was debt-free.
In January 2009, the university's presidential search committee recommended Mark Rutland, President of Southeastern University of the Assemblies of God in Florida, to succeed Richard Roberts, which the Board of Trustees approved. Rutland took office on July 1, 2009 as the third president.
Ground was officially broken for Oral Roberts' university in 1962 in the southern part of the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The university received its charter the following year in 1963 from the State of Oklahoma and Oral Roberts University officially opened in 1965 with an enrollment of 300 students and with seven major completed buildings. Oral Roberts placed special importance on the Prayer Tower, even though the concept of a building specifically dedicated to prayer located at the center of the campus caused some considerable tension, as some academic leaders were afraid the school would be unable to receive accreditation with such a building. However, the tower, designed by architect Frank Wallace, was completed in 1967 at a cost of two million dollars, a further source of contention. After the tower's completion, Roberts called for a three-day period of prayer and fasting. At the university's dedication ceremony in 1967, the evangelist Billy Graham was the keynote speaker.
The first partial graduation took place in 1968 and the first full graduation in 1969. In 1971, Roberts announced to the student body that Oral Roberts University had been fully accredited for ten years by the North Central Association, to which the students responded by lifting Roberts off the stage and carrying him around the outdoor assembly amid the cheers of supporters.
During the first decade of the school's existence, enrollment increased at a rapid pace; also during this time, many of the campus' iconic structures were completed, such as the Howard Auditorium, the Graduate Center, the Mabee Center, and Christ's Chapel among others.
The university built the City of Faith Medical and Research Center hospital, which opened in 1981, and started the Oral Roberts University School of Medicine in 1978, but severe financial difficulties with both of these institutions led to their closure in 1989.
The O. W. Coburn School of Law opened in 1979. In 1986 the university "shut down its ailing law school and sent its library to Pat Robertson's Bible-based college in Virginia", which subsequently founded the Regent University School of Law.
Golden Eagle Broadcasting
In January 1996 Golden Eagle Broadcasting, a small digital satellite Christian and family programming television network owned and operated by Oral Roberts University, was founded. Programming includes the Oral Roberts University Chapel Service, called The Gathering, ORU sports, and other Christian programs not associated with ORU.
|Wikinews has related news: Oral Roberts University president accused of illegal political donations and financial misappropriation|
In October 2007, a lawsuit was filed in Tulsa County by three former professors who claimed to have been wrongfully terminated. They also alleged university president Richard Roberts misused university assets and illegally ordered the university to participate in Republican candidate Randi Miller's political campaign for Tulsa mayor. This occurred while the tax-exempt university was working lawfully with the Republican National Committee on out-of-state projects as part of a long-standing, pre-approved curriculum that had been in place for several years. Other allegations against Roberts include claims he used university funds to pay for his daughter's trip to the Bahamas by providing the university jet and billing other costs to the school, maintains a stable of horses on campus and at university expense for the exclusive use of his children, regularly summons university and ministry staff to the Roberts house to do his daughters’ homework, has remodeled his house at university expense 11 times in the past 14 years, allowed the university to be billed both for damage done by his daughters to university-owned golf carts and for video-taped vandalism caused by one of his minor daughters and acquired a red Mercedes convertible and a white Lexus SUV for his wife Lindsay through ministry donors.
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Lindsay Roberts, who is referred to in ORU publicity as the university's "first lady," is accused of spending tens of thousands of dollars of university funds on clothes, awarding nonacademic scholarships to the children of family friends and sending text messages, mostly sent between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., on university-issued cell phones to people described in the lawsuit as "underage males." The lawsuit also alleges a longtime maintenance employee was fired for the purpose of giving the job to an underage male friend of Lindsay Roberts.
Richard Roberts told students during his weekly chapel, "This lawsuit ...is about intimidation, blackmail and extortion." Former ORU professor and lawsuit plaintiff Tim Brooker commented, "All over that campus there are signs up that say, 'And God said, build me a university, build it on my authority, and build it on the Holy Spirit.' Unfortunately, ownership has shifted."
United Church of Christ minister and former Church of God in Christ Bishop Carlton Pearson, a former protege of Oral Roberts, said Richard Roberts was "born into privilege... What others may call extravagance he may not see it as extravagant." According to CNN, Pearson said he was disappointed but not surprised by the allegations, explaining, "These kinds of things are common among family-owned and operated businesses and ministries. They don't cross every T and dot every I."
|Wikinews has related news: More allegations filed against Oral Roberts University|
On October 12, the plaintiffs filed an amended lawsuit adding the university's Board of Regents (George Pearsons, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Michael A. Hammer, John Hagee, Marilyn Hickey, Oral Roberts, Richard L. Roberts, Jerry Savelle and Charles Watson) to the suit and alleging three days after the original lawsuit was filed, Roberts fired the university's financial comptroller (who had been employed by ORU for 26 years) and "witnesses have reported voluminous materials and documents were shredded and destroyed, constituting spoilation of evidence." The filing also alleged Lindsay Roberts had spent at least nine nights in the ORU guest house with an underage 16-year-old male who also was allowed to live in the Roberts family residence on campus, a situation that made their oldest daughter so uncomfortable, she insisted deadbolt locks be installed on all bedroom doors in the house.
In a written response to the later allegations Lindsay Roberts said, "I live my life in a morally upright manner and throughout my marriage have never, ever engaged in any sexual behavior with any man outside of my marriage as the accusations imply. Allegations against me in a lawsuit yesterday are not true. They sicken me to my soul." In a separate written statement the university denied "purposely or improperly" destroying documents.
Resignation of Richard Roberts
|Wikinews has related news: Richard Roberts takes leave of absence from Oral Roberts University|
On October 17, Richard Roberts announced a "temporary leave of absence" as president of the university, citing the "toll" the lawsuit and attendant allegations have taken on him and his family. Billy Joe Daugherty of Victory Christian Center became Executive Regent of the Board of Regents and Interim President. Chairman of the Board George Pearsons noted the temporary resignation was not an admission of guilt.
In November 2007, former board of regents member Harry McNevin claimed that during the 1980s, the ORU Board of Regents "rubber-stamped" the "use of millions in endowment money to buy a Beverly Hills property so Oral Roberts could have a West Coast office and house." McNevin also said a country club membership was purchased for Oral Roberts' home. "His idea was if he could get on the golf course with these people, he could get donations for the university," said McNevin. These lavish expenses led McNevin to resign from the board in 1987.
In a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the university on November 21, 2007, former ORU senior accountant Trent Huddleston claimed he had been ordered to help Roberts and his wife "cook the books" by misclassifying nearly $123,000 in funds allegedly spent by the university on remodeling the Roberts home.
|Wikinews has related news: Oral Roberts calls 'emergency meeting'|
Roberts tendered his letter of resignation to the university's board of regents on November 23, effective immediately. In a prepared email statement released by the university, he said, "I love ORU with all my heart. I love the students, faculty, staff and administration and I want to see God's best for all of them." The regents said they would meet the following week to discuss the search for a new president. Executive regent Billy Joe Daugherty continued as interim president (working with chancellor Oral Roberts).
"You can't take the sacrifices of God's people and use them any old way," McNevin commented after Roberts' resignation. "It's been 20 years that they've been doing the same things that I became aware of."
On November 27, Pearsons said the university planned to separate its finances and leadership from the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, to the apparent approval of many students and faculty members. On 10 January 2008 ORU settled with lawsuit plaintiff John Swails who was reinstated to his previous teaching position. The school also announced a formal search committee for a new president, to be headed by board of regents member and Tulsa resident Glenda Payas.
On January 14, 2008, Oral Roberts University’s board of regents voted unanimously to accept $62 million from the Mart Green family, founders of Hobby Lobby and Mardel educational and Christian supply stores. In late October, an ORU spokesman had said ORU was $52.5 million in debt and the school accepted an unconditional $8 million from the Greens in late November. ORU’s board of regents has been replaced with a 23-member board of trustees all initially named by the Greens, with Mart Green as chairman. Although Green said in November, two family members would sit on the board, he will reportedly be the only one. Green said he wanted to be involved in ORU because his family “felt like financial stewardship needed to be shored up.”
Campus renovations and layoffs
Of the $82 million given to Oral Roberts University, around half went toward eliminating the university's $52 million debt. The remaining $32 million was allocated to, "campus renovations, technology upgrades, academic enhancement, financial aid for new and returning students, marketing and operations," according to the university website. During the summer of 2008, $10 million went toward campus upgrades and deferred maintenance. Many of the dormitories on campus received extensive renovations and most of the campus's other buildings received much needed restoration and upgrades.
In January 2009, the University began to implement the employment reduction plans announced in November 2008, laying off 53 employees and cutting about 40 unfilled positions. According to university sources, these layoffs come as the administration and Board of Trustees seeks long-term financial viability for the university.
On January 29, 2009, it was announced that the Green family would commit an additional $10.4 million to go toward additional campus renovations and upgrades to take place during summer 2009. About the gift, Mart Green, who is chair of ORU's board of trustees, said, "This gift will help to improve the quality of education for students at the new ORU. Our family is excited to continue partnering with ORU financially to ensure this great university continues to provide an excellent, whole-person education."
Renewing the Vision campaign
Following Mart Green's contribution, the university's debt was reduced to $25 million. In February 2008, the Renewing the Vision campaign was initiated in an effort to erase this debt. To free the university from its burgeoning debt, the Board of Trustees announced plans for a $25 million matching campaign, in which the Board agreed that it would match dollar-for-dollar all that was donated to the university as part of the Renewing the Vision campaign, up to a maximum of $25 million. ORU Interim President Ralph Fagin stated, "The goal is in one year to get the debt down. It is a pretty audacious goal. It is a faith goal." In addition to eliminating the debt, funds from the Renewing the Vision campaign contributed to the 2008 summer campus renovations as well as scholarships provided by the university. As of June 3, 2009, donations and pledges had reduced the university's original $50 million debt to $720,000.
On April 15, 2009, a $1 million donation was made to the school's Whole Person Scholarship fund by Chairman of the Armand Hammer Foundation and university trustee Michael Armand Hammer, son of Julian Armand Hammer and grandson of the late industrialist Armand Hammer. Hammer's donation will be matched twice and, in the end, will amount to a $4 million donation to the university. The donation will contribute to a new scholarship initiative that seeks to find potential students who are well-rounded and already exhibit the characteristics of a person who is spiritually alive, intellectually alert, physically disciplined, and socially adept. The Whole Person Scholarship provides scholarships that vary from full-tuition down to $2,500 to students who meet the aforementioned criteria.
Presidential inauguration of Mark Rutland and debt-free status
In January 2009, it was reported that ORU had selected a new president: Mark Rutland, president of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. On January 14, Rutland confirmed that he had been offered the position, and intended to accept it. Rutland was formally announced as the new president on January 28, 2009. He officially took office on July 1, 2009.
On September 23, 2009, at the university's twice-per-week chapel service, President Mark Rutland announced that all of the university's long-term debt obligations had been met and the school was now debt-free. Rutland had indicated in an interview earlier in the year that he had expected the announcement for quite some time and that he could have paid the debt down when he took office in July, "But that's like making a hole in one with nobody on the golf course." He told the Associated Press, "So, we're going to wait until school starts ... and then we'll have a 'ta-dah' moment."
About the erasing of the university's debt, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mart Green said, "We are extremely thankful to all the donors who stepped up to support ORU. They know the value of this university and they can see the product that ORU produces – excellent, whole-person graduates who are valuable to this community and to the world." Donations from alumni contributed heavily to the university becoming free: prior to the 2007 scandal, less than 6 percent of alumni donated to the university; however, as a result of the Renewing the Vision campaign, donations from alumni rose from $763,000 in 2007 to $2.3 million in 2009.
The announcement was made two days before the September 25, 2009, inauguration ceremony for Rutland held at the Mabee Center on the university campus. The first ceremony of its kind in ORU's history, it was attended and addressed by many dignitaries and guests, among them Kathy Taylor, the mayor of Tulsa, and Marilyn Hickey, former member of the ORU Board of Regents. Governor Brad Henry declared September 25, 2009, "Dr. Mark Rutland Day". At the ceremony, Rutland received a blessing from the founder and chancellor of the university, Oral Roberts.
In December 2010, ORU announced that the Green family would make another $10 million gift in 2011, to be used for renovations and technology improvements. The gift raised the Greens' total donations to $110 million.
On January 31, 2013, ORU announced that William "Billy" Wilson, executive director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal and vice-chair of the ORU board of trustees, had been selected to succeed Rutland as president, effective on July 1, 2013. A day earlier, the ORU student newspaper had briefly posted an erroneous report on its website, mistakenly identifying a different person as the new president. Rutland criticized the report at a student assembly and the newspaper's longtime faculty adviser left the school the next day.
The university's residential policy requires all unmarried undergraduate students who are younger than 25 to live on campus, although exceptions are made for those students who live with their parents within the Tulsa area. Men and women are housed in separate dormitory facilities on campus with student access to housing of the opposite sex largely restricted. In addition to having a chaplain on every "wing" of each dormitory, there are also Residential Advisers for each floor, who enforce curfew, take attendance at Chapel services, and serve as "go-to persons" for students living on their floors. As well, each floor has an Academic Peer Adviser (APA) who serves to offer or facilitate tutoring services to students who need assistance with their studies; the APA also keeps students informed of academic news and obligations. Every Monday night is a mandatory Hall Meeting at which announcements are made by dorm leadership.
All students are required to sign a pledge stating they will live according to the university's honor code. Prohibited activities include lying, cursing, smoking, drinking, and a range of sexual acts including homosexual behavior and sex outside marriage. In early 2003, the student dress code was relaxed for the first time in 40 years and described as business casual. For most of the school's history, men were required to wear collared shirts and ties, while women were required to wear skirts (an exception for winter months was added in 2000). In 2006, campus-wide dress code rules were eased even further, allowing students to wear jeans to class and dress even more casually in non-academic settings. Since 2009, men are allowed to have neatly trimmed facial hair. There used to be restrictions on men concerning hair length, but these were relaxed in 2013.
The university has bi-weekly chapel services in Christ's Chapel, which are recorded and broadcast live through the university's television station and also via satellite. The television broadcast, called "ORU Alive," is directed from the television studios in the Mabee Center while the cameras and sound equipment are manned by students.
A typical chapel service features contemporary worship, a missions offering, special music, and a sermon, typically from the President of the University, Dr. William Wilson, as well as special guests, including some of the world's biggest and most well-known pastors, evangelists, and spiritual leaders. Attendance at Chapel is mandatory and attendance is taken by student leadership.
The campus was built beginning in 1963 with a noted futuristic look and architecture. Architects Stanfield, Imel & Walton of Tulsa designed the 1963 master plan but most of the buildings were designed by Tulsa architect Frank Wallace. Interviewed in 2010, Wallace characterized his ORU buildings as "sculptures", noting that an inspiration for his artistic sensibility was "whittling since I was a kid". It has also been suggested that the buildings may have been inspired by Tulsa's art deco architectural heritage along with Bruce Goff's individualistic style and creative use of new materials. By 2007 the campus was described as "a perfect representation of the popular modernistic architecture of the time... the set of the The Jetsons" but also "shabby" and "dated, like Disney's Tomorrowland." Maintenance of the many unique but aging buildings, structures and architectural details on campus was cited as a growing problem for the university. In 2008, $10 million was set aside from Green family donations for long deferred maintenance on many campus buildings, along with the prayer tower. Another $10 million was donated by the Green family and budgeted for work during the summer of 2009.
The front entrance onto campus is a divided, landscaped roadway, originally called The Avenue of Flags and now renamed Billy Joe Daugherty circle, lined with lighted flags representing the more than 60 nations from which ORU students have been drawn.
The main academic building is the John D. Messick Learning Resource Center / Marajen Chinigo Graduate Center, an immense 900,000 square foot (80,000 m²) facility with many pylon-like columns, gold-tinted windows and a lozenge shaped footprint that university publicity says was styled after King Solomon's Temple. The Howard Auditorium is a gold, Buckminster Fuller style geodesic dome that is used for movies, theatre productions, classes and seminars. Bi-weekly university chapel services are held in Christ's Chapel, a 3,500 seat building constructed in drape-like fashion as an echo of Oral Roberts' early tent revivals. The Googie style Prayer Tower at the center of campus was intended to resemble "an abstract cross and Crown of Thorns" and also houses a visitor center. The Mabee Center is an 11,000 seat arena on the southwestern edge of campus and is used for basketball games, concerts, church services and satellite television productions. Timko-Barton Hall houses musical and theatrical performance halls as well as classrooms devoted to the university's programs in the performing arts. The building's performance halls are often the scene of concerts and recitals by performing arts students.
The Kenneth H. Cooper Aerobics Center houses basketball courts, an elevated running track, a free-weights and exercise room, a swimming pool and classrooms for students who are enrolled in health fitness courses (a requirement for all students). J.L. Johnson Stadium is a 2,200 seat baseball stadium located on the north of the campus.
The Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center was designed by KSQ Architects, PC, and constructed and completed in 2013. It is the first building to be built on the ORU campus in decades. It totes the largest TV in Oklahoma, a "living room" for students, a gaming center equipped with Wii's and Xbox's, pool tables, ping pong, and more. The building is a modern design fitting for the campus. Students also enjoy addition restaurants and a coffee shop. The Armand Hammer Student-Alumni Center also houses student government offices as well as board rooms for special meetings. No classes meet in this building; it is strictly for the use and enjoyment of the student body.
The Hamill Student Center is located between Ellis Melvin Roberts and Claudius Priscilla Roberts Halls and houses restaurants on its lower level. Zoppelt Auditorium is located on the ground level and is often used as a lecture hall for classes, forums and special events. Campus Security and the "Fireside Room" are also on ground level with the university cafeteria (called "Saga" by students) on the upper level.
There are eight dormitories on campus.
- Claudius Priscilla Roberts Hall is a seven-story building built in 1965 that can house up to 600 women. Called "Claudius" by students, the building is named after Oral Roberts' mother.
- Ellis Melvin Roberts Hall is a seven-story building also built in 1967 that can house up to 600 men. Called "EMR" by campus residents, this dormitory is similar to Claudius Priscilla Roberts Hall but has some differences, notably walls made of concrete blocks rather than sheetrock, two elevators instead of one and laundry facilities located in the basement instead of every floor. According to the university, these two tri-winged buildings are meant to reflect the Trinity.
- Frances Cardone Hall (originally named Ethel Hughes Hall) is a twelve-story building for housing up to 372 women. This is one of the four "Towers" dormitories, which are meant to represent the Star of David. The building is called "Frances" by university students.
- Michael Cardone, Sr. Hall (originally named Edward Hughes Hall) is the twin dormitory to Frances and houses up to 372 men. It is linked to the three other Towers dormitories by a central hallway and the main lobby area, called the "Fishbowl" for its glass exterior walls.
- Susie Vinson Hall is one of two shorter "Towers" housing 244 women on eight stories and known as "Susie."
- Wesley Leuhring Hall, called "Wesley" by students, is the twin dormitory of "Susie" and is much alike in both capacity and design.
- Gabrielle Christian Salem Hall is a three-story split-level dormitory located west of Timko-Barton Hall and called "Gabby" by the students. It can house up to 240 women and has secured doors that open using university issued cards. There are in-room bathroom facilities on the first and second floors.
The university has strict guidelines concerning student access to the upper floors of residence halls by members of the opposite sex, which is limited to designated occasions called "Open Dorms."
In 1981, the City of Faith Medical and Research Center opened. The buildings are south of the ORU campus, and were originally built as a 60-story clinic, a 30-story hospital, and a 20-story research center. The original tenants left in 1989 because of financial problems and a lack of demand for medical services. As of 2007, some floors (in the 20-story building) have never been leased. The facility is now mostly leased out as commercial office space under the name CityPlex Towers. A 60 ft (18.2 m), 30 ton bronze sculpture Praying Hands, by sculptor Leonard McMurray (cast in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico in 1980) and originally in front of the towers, was moved to the ORU campus entrance in the summer of 1991.
Oral Roberts University is a member of The Summit League after leaving its former conference home, Southland Conference, in July 2014. Its athletic programs include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and tennis along with track and field for men and women. There is also a baseball program for men and volleyball for women.
ORU's early sports team nicknames were the Titans for men and the Lady Titans for women, adopted in 1965 by a vote of the student body. On April 30, 1993, all teams for both men and women became known as the Golden Eagles. ORU's current mascot is "Eli" the golden eagle, who hatched out of his papier-mâché egg on November 17, 1993 before the start of an exhibition basketball game as the official symbol of a new era in ORU athletics. The mascot's name is an acronym for education, lifeskills and integrity.
The men's basketball team coached by Scott Sutton went to three straight NCAA tournaments from 2006 to 2008. ORU's women's basketball team has appeared in four NCAA tournaments in the past eight seasons.
The ORU baseball team has played in 21 NCAA regional tournaments. ORU advanced to the College World Series in 1978. In 2006, ORU advanced to the NCAA Super Regional against Clemson. ORU baseball has won 12 consecutive conference championships and has played in 12 consecutive NCAA regional tournaments (1998 to 2009).
ORU has been criticized for endorsing unorthodox doctrines of faith. Critics cite Oral Roberts' connection with Word of Faith doctrine and how they believe this has been used for self-promotion and justification of economic materialism. Oral Roberts helped pioneer the concept of "Seed Faith", which associated acts of God with the results of an individual's previous investment into God's will, like a plant growing from the investment of a seed. Scriptural citations for the doctrine include Luke 6:38 "Give, and it shall be given unto you, full measure pressed down shaken together and running over shall men give into your bosom; for what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you again". Critics claim this is equivalent to believing miracles can be bought and makes God into a manipulable party.
Some of the earliest criticisms of the Word of Faith movement came from ORU faculty members including Professor Charles Farah and one of his students, Daniel Ray McConnell. McConnell submitted a PhD thesis to the university detailing his assertion that the teachings of the movement are heretical. This was later published as A Different Gospel in 1988.
In February 1997, on the 28th day of Ramadan, several students from Oral Roberts University reportedly disrupted services at a mosque in the city of Tulsa near the University of Tulsa. The students mistakenly thought it was the 27th night of Ramadan, which is the holiest night of the Muslim calendar. Mujeeb Cheema, the chairman of the Islamic Society of Tulsa at that time, told The New York Times that "Some 20 Oral Roberts students put their hands on the exterior doors and walls of the mosque and prayed for the conversion of the Muslims." The students left after police had been summoned to the scene.
A few days after the event, the society received a written apology from the Reverend Bill Shuler, who was the director of religious services on the ORU campus. A university spokesman indicated that the students would not be disciplined and that officials from the university were discussing with the students their accounts of the events, which differed from what was reported by the Muslims attending the religious services. Another Oral Roberts official, Jesse Pisors, further stated that despite the fact that students were praying for the conversion of Muslims, "their purpose specifically was not to proselytize or to intimidate."
Citing alleged discrimination against LGBT students at ORU, in 2006 Soulforce placed the university on its 2006 Equality Ride route and the rally took place on March 20, 2006. University administration refused the activists the right to enter the campus and several were arrested after they entered the campus in spite of the university administration's decision. Soulforce members object to the university's honor code pledge's ban on homosexual activity (i.e., homosexual intercourse). All students are required to sign and abide by the honor code which places the same restriction on all sexual activity performed outside of "traditional marriage of one man and one woman."
While homosexual activity is against the school's honor code, many LGBTQ students have still attended the school due to family or personal choice. Over time, ORU alumni have made groups such as ORU-OUT and gay-straight alliances to allow LGBTQ students and alumni to have social support groups. Alumni of the University have also dedicated Facebook groups and petitions to stand against harsh anti-gay laws in Uganda.
References in popular culture
- The musical artist MC 900 Ft. Jesus took his name from an Oral Roberts sermon.
|Name||Known for||Relationship to Oral Roberts University|
|Daniel Amen||Psychiatrist and author||Doctorate, ORU School of Medicine, 1982|
|Michele Bachmann||U.S. Congress member||J.D., 1986, from ORU affiliate Coburn School of Law|
|Scott Thompson Baker||Actor|
|Andretti Bain||NCAA champion sprinter, Olympic medal winner for Bahamas in 2008|
|David Barton||Author and commentator|
|Doug Bernier||Major League Baseball|
|Steve Holm||Major League Baseball|
|Todd Burns||Major League Baseball|
|Don Colbert||Physician, public speaker, and author||B.S., Biology, M.D. 1984.|
|Billy Joe Daugherty||Pastor, television personality, and interim president of the university|
|Jon Egan||Worship artist||B.A., Organizational/Interpersonal Communications 2001|
|Kathie Lee Gifford||American singer, songwriter, and actress|
|Brian Graden||Television executive||B.A., Business 1985|
|Michael Graham||Talk radio host and author|
|Ted Haggard||Evangelical minister||Graduate of 1978|
|Keith Lockhart||Major League Baseball|
|Ron Luce||Founder / President, Teen Mania Ministries||B.A., Theology, 1983|
|Ron Meridith||Major League Baseball|
|Keith Miller||Major League Baseball|
|Mike Moore||Major League Baseball|
|Prince Mumba||Runner, represented Zambia at the 2004 and 2012 Olympics|
|Richard Roberts||Evangelist and former Oral Roberts University president||B.A., M.Th., D.Min.|
|Ryan Tedder||Singer, songwriter, producer|
|Haywoode Workman||National Basketball Association|
|Kelly Wright||Television reporter|
|Bob Zupcic||Major League Baseball|
|Ulf Ekman||Swedish founder of world of life church in Uppsala|
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