ORU accepts $62 million offer, agrees to change board
BY Staff reports
Monday, January 14, 2008
1/14/08 at 7:35 PM
For more: Read the latest ORU stories, view the lawsuit and other documents and watch slide shows and video.
Oral Roberts University's board of regents unanimously accepted on Monday an offer of $62 million from the family that founded Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian and educational supply stores.
The board agreed to a proposal from Mart Green's family that will replace the existing board of regents, largely made up of the superstars of the charismatic Christian world, with a new board of trustees. The Green family named the first 13 out of 22 possible trustees, and the board of regents will recommend six more nominees for the trustees to consider. The Green family will approve of three of those nominees, according to a summary of the family's proposal distributed to media at a press conference Monday night.
Mart Green will serve as chairman of the trustees, he said. Contrary to his statement in November that two Green family members would sit on ORU's board under the family's proposal, Mart Green will be the only family member serving as a trustee and will have only one vote.
The board of regents will become the board of reference, consisting of current ORU business regents who wish to be on the board and people chosen by the Green family, all of whom will act as ambassadors for ORU, according to the summary and Green.
ORU will transition from a "founder's school" to a university with "21st century governance," in which employees have input into decisions, Green said.
The board of trustees will decide how to spend the $62 million, Green said. ORU is $52.5 million in debt, a university spokesman said in late October.
In late November, ORU accepted an unconditional donation of $8 million from the Green family.
Green, from Yukon, said in November that he saw the need for changes in leadership, finances and governance at ORU -- areas where an accreditation team also cited need for improvement. Green's offer came days after Richard Roberts resigned as ORU president, and Green said then, "That was the leadership issue that has been taken care of."
A lawsuit filed by three professors in October accused Roberts of spending university money for personal uses, but Roberts said he paid for personal expenses and he denied wrongdoing.
ORUs board of regents has accepted an offer of $62 million from Mardels founder Mart Green.