ORU's Future Looks Bright, According to Newly Installed President
Over 4,000 Oral Roberts University (ORU) students, faculty, staff, and alumni, with community leaders and friends filled the Mabee Center today to hear Dr. Mark Rutland's message for the future of the school and to celebrate his inauguration as the third president in the history of ORU.
"I am aware that I come to a great university already in progress. It will be rolling on for years to come," said Dr. Rutland during the ceremony. "ORU is attached to an enduring vision and we are united under a Leader who transcends us all. The ultimate leader of ORU is still Jesus Christ."
Dr. Rutland was welcomed by Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor and State Senator Gary Stanislawski, and addressed via video by Governor Brad Henry. Dr. Rutland was also welcomed by Dr. Paul Corts, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Chancellor Oral Roberts and Board of Trustees Board Chair Mart Green conducted the formal installation of Dr. Rutland.
Board Chair Mart Green and the Oral Roberts University Board of Trustees announced the selection of Dr. Mark Rutland in January. The selection was the result of a nine-month search process carried out by Bruce Dingman of Dingman Company, Inc., an executive search and selection firm, and a presidential search committee made up of representatives from the ORU Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and students.
In addition to the installation of a new president, the ORU Board of Trustees, installed last January, has made monumental progress in the past 20 months. With the help of the Renewing the Vision campaign, the university announced this week that it has successfully eliminated the long-term debt through the gifts of approximately 15,800 donors.
The university also recently announced that enrollment for the fall 2009 semester is up by 73 students from fall 2008. The total enrollment for fall 2009 is 3,140 students, representing 49 states and 56 countries. The number of new students increased from 766 in 2008 to 902 in 2009, which is more than a 17% increase. This increase in enrollment is being attributed to a number of factors including the new energy and excitement on campus with the arrival of Dr. Rutland and $10 million in renovations all across campus this summer.
Dr. Rutland brings significant academic and leadership experiences to his new role as president of Oral Roberts University.
Originally from Texas, Dr. Rutland completed a bachelor of science at the University of Maryland in 1970. Then, answering God's call to the ministry, he earned a master of divinity degree from Candler College of Theology at Emory University in Georgia in 1972, and became a United Methodist pastor. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in church growth from the California Graduate School of Theology in 1988. He served alongside Dr. Paul Walker at Mount Paran Church of God in Atlanta, Georgia. For five years he served as Senior Pastor of Calvary Assembly of God in Florida. During his tenure Calvary gained national notoriety as a model of turn¬around leadership. In the late 1970s, Rutland began preaching revival meetings in churches across the nation and was soon ministering around the world. He founded Global Servants, which has a church-planting ministry in West Africa and a large girls' home in Thailand.
In 1998, he launched out into a second turnaround adventure: the presidency of Southeastern College in Lakeland, Florida. During his decade of leadership that college became a university, tripled enrollment from less than 1,000 to more than 3,000 students, and saw the Lakeland campus expanded with $50 million in new construction. While there Rutland also established the Jerusalem Studies Center in Israel.
Along with his academic and ministry pursuits, Dr. Rutland has authored 13 books and hosted a 30-minute daily radio program called The Herald of Joy. He and his wife, Alison, have partnered in marriage and ministry for 42 years. They have three married children and five grandchildren. He is currently ordained with the International Ministerial Fellowship.