Nov27press

Transcript of Nov. 27, 2007 Press Conference

Statements by Pastor George Pearsons and Mart Green provided at the ORU news conference at 6 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Statement by Pastor George Pearsons, Chairman, ORU Board of Regents

Yesterday and today, the Oral Roberts University Board of Regents met on the ORU campus. We were pleased to have 21 of the 24 voting members of the board in attendance.

As Regents, we are ever mindful of the University’s mission in dealing with our responsibilities and in our decision-making.

Please allow me to remind you that the mission of Oral Roberts University – in its commitment to the Christian faith – is to educate the whole person in spirit, mind, and body, thereby preparing its graduates to be professionally competent servant-leaders who are spiritually alive, intellectually alert, physically disciplined, and socially adept. The University seeks to synthesize the best practices of liberal arts, professional, and graduate education with a charismatic emphasis to enable students to go into every person’s world with God’s message of salvation and healing for the totality of human need.

Allow me to share with you some of the results of the board meetings.

The ORU Board of Regents has formally accepted the resignation of Richard Roberts as President of the University effective November 23, 2007. The Board wishes Richard the very best and we thank him for his 15 years of service to the University as President.

An objective and independent external review of the allegations was conducted at the request of the ORU Board of Regents. We have received a report from Miller & Chevalier, the Washington, D.C. firm that conducted this review. Due to pending litigation, we are not disclosing the contents of this report. However, the Board is committed to, and has already begun, implementing recommendations made by Miller & Chevalier regarding the operations and governance of the University.

By unanimous decision of the Board, it was decided that the University will take every step necessary to separate ORU and the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association as a legal, financial, accounting, and governance matter. However, the spiritual connection between the two organizations will remain. Oral Roberts and Richard Roberts are the only two Spiritual Regents serving on the ORU Board at this time. Spiritual Regents are not permitted to vote on business matters involving the University.

Today, the Board voted to begin a formal search process for a new President. A committee has been appointed to determine how best to proceed with the search process, and how to ensure that there will be meaningful input and participation from the administration, faculty, staff, alumni, student body, and parents.

The next President will have a strong commitment to the founding spiritual vision and principles of the University. However, given the financial issues facing ORU, it is critical for the next President to also have a strong understanding of financial matters. We are anticipating that the search process could take several months.

The Board also voted to retain the current interim leadership of the University during the search process. Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty will serve as Acting President while the search process for a new President takes place.

The Board of Regents has made a renewed and vigorous commitment to the oversight of business and financial matters of Oral Roberts University.

The ORU Board of Regents has strengthened its commitment to fulfilling its fiduciary duties and responsibilities to the University and to implementing policies and procedures necessary to ensure accountability and to produce efficiencies in managing the University.

The efforts of the ORU Board of Regents in the coming weeks and months will focus on returning the University to sound financial status. While the University faces some significant financial hurdles in the days and months ahead, recent events and actions by the Board have given us a renewed confidence in our ability to “right the ship” financially.

As a Board, we accept full responsibility to work to provide leadership in the University’s fundraising efforts and getting ORU back on solid financial footing.

We are pleased to report that today ORU received donations in the amount of $8 million, and $2 million, respectively. These two seed-faith gifts will be used to meet the short-term financial needs of the University.

God’s plan is evident in that a number of options for addressing the long-term financial issues have been brought to us in recent weeks which will allow the University to remain true to our founding mission. We are committed to considering any other appropriate options or combination of options that would resolve the current financial issues facing the University and ensure its long-term financial success.

We wish to thank those groups and individuals who have shown their support for our efforts in the past few weeks. Those groups include the faculty, students, staff, alumni, the community-at-large, and other friends of ORU. Their thoughts and prayers are deeply appreciated.

This has been a great day for ORU!

Statement by Mart Green, founder of Mardel Christian and Educational Supply and whose family founded Hobby Lobby chain stores:

My name is Mart Green. Along with my family, we have answered God’s call to be with you today.

Our family has been led to commit $70 million to Oral Roberts University. Of that $70 million, today we have given $8 million. Upon completion of a 90 day review process, the remaining $62 million will be donated provided that the results of this review are mutually satisfactory to both parties.

Our gift and the new direction this university is taking is good news for students, faculty, alumni, the founders and the board.

I come before you with a humble spirit and ask that as a community of faith we move forward together acknowledging that this is God’s college and we must fulfill his mission of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.

As a university, ORU must demand an internal and external transparency and we look forward to working with its students, faculty, alumni and the neighboring communities to this end.

ORU must restore its broken trust, its battered reputation and its beaten spirit. Now begins a time of healing.

The board and Oral have agreed that significant changes need to take place. Those changes will happen and we will announce them at the appropriate time.

I have been involved with ministries for YEARS and our collective efforts have always been much more private than where we find ourselves today. We are passionate about spreading the good news of Christ and know we will succeed in doing God’s will for this university.

I would like to thank Oral Roberts for his help during this difficult time. I’d like to thank our thousands of students, faculty and alumni for supporting us and I would like to thank our neighbors and friends all across Oklahoma.

To whom much has been given, much is required. We will spread the good news together.

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