Story by Editorial Writers of Tulsa World found on TulsaWorld.com
No one observing the crisis in management at Oral Roberts University expected a miracle in 2009 when Mark Rutland took on the presidency.
Rutland was the first outsider to lead an institution that, throughout its 50-year history, had been led by namesake founder, Oral Roberts, and later, Roberts’ son, Richard Roberts.
Under the latter, ORU underwent financial chaos – some of it attributed to the lavish spending habits of Richard Roberts’ family. Students and faculty, with ample justification, lost faith in Richard Roberts’ leadership skills.
In its darkest hour, Hobby Lobby’s Mart Green stepped in to save ORU. Green had a quid pro quo: For his financial backing, he insisted on new leadership and accountability – financial and otherwise.
ORU received both in the form of Rutland, who was president of Southeastern University, an Assemblies of God college in Lakeland, Fla., that Rutland transformed into a thriving university in 10 years.
Since Rutland arrived, ORU has eliminated $55 million in long-term debt, completed $40 million in campus renovations and secured more than $10 million in funding for the Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center, which will break ground in January.
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