Hobby Lobby founder Mart Green has followed thorugh on his offer to bail out the financially strapped university.
In the wake of ORU president Richard Roberts' resignation, Green offered in late November to give the school $70 million, dependent on a number of reforms. He donated $8 million immediately, without strings attached; yesterday's gift of $62 million signaled that ORU's board and Green had struck a deal on the proposed changes.
Roberts, the son of ORU founder Oral Roberts, resigned on November 23 amid lawsuits alleging financial mismanagement and lavish personal purchases with school funds. The school was $52.5 million in debt when he stepped down.
Green's gift is expected to pay off the debt and enable the school to invest in future improvements and growth. The key change agreed upon was the replacement of the previous board of regents, largely made up of charismatic celebrities, with a 16-person board of trustees chaired by Green. The Green family also wanted to be sure that the lawsuits facing the school could "be settled on a fair and reasonable basis for the university," according to their proposal.
"Heavenly Father, we thank you for this wonderful gift," university trustee Scott Howard prayed during the chapel service where Green officially presented the checks. "We pray for the future of Oral Roberts University, God, that the mission will go forth, . . . the vision will be strengthened, Lord, going forth in the future for generations to come."