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Free at Last: Oral Roberts University Eliminates Long-term Debt

The Oral Roberts University Board of Trustees announced today that the university has resolved all long-term debt. This announcement comes just days before the inauguration of Dr. Mark Rutland, ORU's third president.

"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," said Mart Green, Board Chair of the ORU Board of Trustees. "ORU's long-term debt was a major dragon to slay for future success. We can now move forward with confidence and continue to make this university the best it can be."

"I want to thank all of the generous donors who have brought us to where we are today. I want to thank each one of them for believing in this university enough to financially support this great institution. And we are extremely grateful to Mart Green and the Board of Trustees for their leadership and financial support. They have a desire to see this university fulfill its vision and have backed that up with their generous gifts," said Dr. Mark Rutland, ORU president.

The long-term debt was eliminated thanks to many generous gifts to the university. In late 2007 and early 2008 the Green family gave a total of $70 million to the university, $30 million of which was put toward paying down part of the $55 million long-term debt. Then the ORU Board of Trustees instituted the Renewing the Vision Matching Campaign, an initiative in which the trustees matched contributions dollar-for-dollar to pay off the remaining long-term debt. The campaign was started in February 2008 and ended in April 2009. In that short period of time more than $22 million was donated by 15,796 donors to the campaign. The trustees wanted to honor the efforts of all of the generous donors and gave beyond the match to a total of $24,280,001. This brought long-term debt down to $719,999. The remaining balance was resolved through additional contributions.

In other news from the Board of Trustees, Rev. Gilberto Velez and Jacquie Cardone became the newest Board of Trustees members at a meeting on Wednesday. This makes the ORU Board of Trustees 24 members strong.

"We are honored to have these two individuals on the ORU board. They bring a wide variety of expertise and experience to the board," said Board Chair Mart Green.

Velez is senior pastor at Iglesia Cristiana Misericordia Assembly of God, a mega-church located in Laredo, TX. He also serves as chairman of the board for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference-the largest Latino Evangelical Christian organization in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Cardone is president of the CARDONE Foundation and co-founder of CARDONE Industries, a family business spanning three generations that is the largest family-owned remanufacturer of automotive parts in the world.

During the Wednesday meeting, 20 new members were also approved to be added to ORU's Board of Reference.

The ORU Board of Reference is a group of ORU supporters who have agreed to serve on this non-voting board, and represent ORU in their geographic areas and spheres of influence. Information about ORU is communicated to this group regularly. They are also available to provide counsel to the trustees and president.

The purpose of the Board of Reference is to provide ORU with a group of loyal and supportive persons who are willing to speak in support of the school and its mission, who will permit their names and standing to be a constant symbol of that loyalty and support, and who will offer ORU a collective statement of credibility.

The new members are: Carlos A. Acosta, associate pastor of King Jesus International Ministry; Bobby G. Brown, chairman and CEO of Transitions Industries; Daniel Delgado, vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, senior pastor of Strategic Partnerships, and senior pastor of Third Day Missions Church; Tessie DeVore, executive vice president, Book Group of Strang Communications; Nick R. Garza, senior pastor of Third Day Worship Center and COO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Myron Goff; Prudencio (J.R.) Gonzalez, senior pastor of Christian Worship Center of Los Angeles and Apostolic Leader of the 5Fold Network; Prince Guneratnam, senior pastor of Calvary Church in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and General Superintendent-Emeritus of the Assemblies of God of Malaysia; Cosmas Ilechukwu, general overseer of Charismatic Renewal Ministries in Owerri, Nigeria; John Laffitte, Ph.D., P.E., executive vice president of King Jesus Leadership Institute and minister/teacher at King Jesus International Ministry in Miami, Florida; Charles Mulli, founder and CEO of Mully Children's Family in Nairobi, Kenya; Rev. Dr. Jesse Miranda, president of The Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership and CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Apostle G. Maldonado, apostle of King Jesus International Ministry; Rev. Dr. Ángel L. Núñez, senior pastor of The Bilingual Christian Church and senior vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Eve Núñez, president/founder of Arizona Latino Commission, vice president, networking of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and senior pastor/founder of Help4kidz; Ikenna Odiachi, director of Teambuilding Africa; Tim Reiterman, procurement manager of The Boeing Company; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Laura Contreras-Rowe, founder and CEO of Why Be Average; and Caleb Wehrli, founder of Inspire International.