The response was immediate and enthusiastic on Wednesday when Mart Green handed Oral Roberts University Trustee Scott Howard three checks totaling $62 million.
Students and employees at ORU’s regular chapel service quickly rose, cheering and clapping in appreciation.
Interim President Ralph Fagin punched his fist into the air. He had just told students they were about to see a miracle and, echoing ORU founder Oral Roberts’ words, said, “Something good is going to happen to you!”
The Green family’s donation signaled acceptance of its deal with ORU, which requires the college to adopt shared governance, in which professors, administrators and trustees jointly run the university.
The deal was partly contingent on the Green family being “reasonably satisfied that all outstanding litigation involving the university” could “be settled on a fair and reasonable basis for the university,” according to the family’s proposal.
Two of the three former professors who sued the school in October, alleging they wrongfully lost their jobs, are continuing with their lawsuit, which kicked off a storm of criticism against ORU and its nowformer president, Richard Roberts, who resigned but denied wrongdoing. Three other lawsuits €” filed by two students and a former ORU accountant against ORU and its leaders €” are pending.
Green did not talk about the lawsuits during the chapel service or in a written statement.
“Our family is humbled to be fortunate enough to make this donation and are excited to work with the board of trustees on how best to use these funds to help create a stronger ORU,” he said in the statement.
At chapel, Howard raised the Greens’ checks in the air and then prayed: “Heavenly Father, we thank you for this wonderful gift. . . . 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.”
After the service, several students said they were happy about the donation. Senior Ricky Broughton expected the gift to pull ORU out of debt and to pay for campus renovations.
He said he did not know whether ORU needed a new governing board, but he thought the change could be good.
Student Ben Gallaher said everything he had heard about ORU’s new leaders was good, so he trusts them.
The 16-member board of trustees, led by Green, replaced the board of regents and met for the first time Wednesday.
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