Oral Roberts University Names New President

Wednesday, January 28th 2009, 12:21 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Oral Roberts University named its new president Wednesday.

Dr. Mark Rutland became the university's third president after a unanimous vote by the school's board of trustees.

University leaders said he's the perfect man for the job. He spent the past 10 years as president of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., where he oversaw more than $50 million in renovations and tripled the school's enrollment.

Rutland said boosting enrollment at ORU is at the top of his list.

"From this distance, it seems to me the most apparent and obvious goal is student growth," he said. "The population of this student body needs to be built. We're going to go at it with all we've got."

Rutland replaces former president Richard Roberts, who resigned after allegations surfaced that he spent close to a billion dollars of university money for his personal use.

Roberts denies the claims.

Mart Green, ORU benefactor and Board of Trustees president, said Rutland's background in education and Christian ministry make him the right man for the job in a difficult time.

"So now not only do we have an outside perspective, we have someone who has experience in the higher education field, and so we feel like he will be able to hit the ground running," Green said.

Rutland said he isn't worried about the past or any perceived dark clouds but is looking forward to getting on campus.

"Forward is the operative word," Rutland said. "I don't know about the cloud. I don't know about those things. All I can say is the future is bright. There's a lot of things that are going to happen here -- great things."

Rutland wasn't on the original list of 130 people who applied for the job. He became a candidate after Oral Roberts himself tapped Rutland to lead the university.

He officially starts in July.