MILLIONS donated to ORU facility

Sunday, July 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Televangelist Oral Roberts was so moved by a $5 million anonymous gift for a student center at the school that bears Roberts' name that he personally pledged an additional $100,000 toward the center.

``I don't know where it will come from, but it will come,'' said Roberts, 83.

Roberts' son, ORU President Richard Roberts, announced the gift during the International Charismatic Bible Ministries Conference held last month at ORU's Mabee Center.

Taking the microphone from his son, Oral Roberts gave a 90-minute sermon that marked his first public appearance in Tulsa since recovering from a broken pelvis. The elder Roberts now lives in Southern California.

As the service continued, other donors, apparently also moved by the moment, quietly walked up to the speaker's podium, pledging $10,000 and $100,000 to the proposed $17.5 million center.

The student center is one of the largest projects undertaken by Richard Roberts' administration and serves as a test of his ability to motivate monetary giving on a scale that his father had done in building ORU and a worldwide Christian ministry.

The anonymous gift represents 29 percent of the amount needed to build the facility, which is expected to feature such amenities as a telephone and computer center, small bank, dry cleaners, post office and food court. Currently, the ORU campus does not have a student center.

ORU students collected $13,000 among themselves soon after the student center project was announced in April.

Roberts made the impromptu announcement with only an artist's rendition of what the building would look like, trusting in God to provide an architect and funding for the facility.

The announcement comes as the school is still digging itself out of a $56 million deficit inherited by Roberts when he assumed the ORU presidency in 1993.

Roberts said the school has paid off $29 million of the deficit in eight years, leaving the school only $27 million in debt.

Roberts has also contributed to an increase in student enrollment. With 4,503 full-time and part-time students, ORU is currently the largest private school in Oklahoma.