By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Several thousand alumni and friends of Oral Roberts University gathered for a first inauguration on the campus.
Almost two years after the financial scandal surrounding former president Richard Roberts - university founder Oral Roberts blessed Mark Rutland as his replacement.
"And you're taking the reins of leadership at the perfect time, the future lies out ahead," Oral Roberts said in Friday's ceremony.
The celebration for the new president comes days after the school announced the elimination of $55 million dollars in debt. The new president mentioned it only once.
"I'm very proud that Green family and I could have contributed more than $100 million dollars," Dr Mark Rutland, ORU president said.
In a speech laced with self deprecating humor, Doctor Rutland said he would preserve the original mission of ORU.
"There's always another challenge to meet, but that's the adventure, the joy of the journey, I am not intimidated by the challenges that we will face" said Rutland.
The man who provided the gift that lifted ORU out of its financial crisis now leads the Board of Trustees, and he announced the new president.
"Doctor Rutland, the Board of Trustees has chosen you to be the third president of Oral Roberts University," said Mart Green, ORU Trustee.
"Yours will be a great privilege and responsibility to take this university to its great mission.
"And now by the authority of the board of trustees, I pronounce you the third president of Oral Roberts University," Green said.
Many dignitaries were in attendance today - but the former president of the school, Richard Roberts, was not. Since his departure, ORU has totally changed leadership - and now goes forward without the burden of debt - with enrollment at 3,100 students this fall.