ORU students, faculty react to death
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
1/16/13 at 5:20 AM
With most of the students out for winter break, a still and quiet campus at Oral Roberts University mourned the death of its founder Tuesday.
Many students learned of his death by an e-mail from the university. They spread the news with a flurry of text messages and postings to social networks.
Students, staff and faculty said they will honor Roberts by pledging to give their best to the university, and that his legacy will continue with every graduate the university produces.
“Today we honor a life that will live on as we bring to life the vision and dream that is ORU,” said David Dyson, a business professor and ORU alumni.
Dyson has a picture of himself and Roberts on top of a bookshelf in his office. He spoke fervently about Roberts’ legacy, and said there is hope in addition to sadness in the ORU community.
“We pay our respects by bringing light to his dream,” he said.
ORU seniors Abigail Mancha and Jenny Jones walked through campus Tuesday afternoon soon after seeing the news in an e-mail.
They said they were surprised and saddened.
“I think it’s shocking, but I think he definitely led a full life and made a huge impact,” Mancha said.
Jones said she admired Roberts’ courage and commitment to his vision.
“We must be a better and bigger light,” she said.
Joy Gooch, who graduated in May, was on campus to pick up some transcripts, and heard the news through text messages.
She recalled the last time Roberts was at the school’s chapel service, and the respect he received.
“When he spoke, it was just completely silent,” she said.
Brenda Angel Copeland, an artist and ORU graduate, had just picked up the bust of Roberts she recently finished when she learned from her sister-in-law that he had died.
The university commissioned Copeland to finish the bronze bust after finding it earlier this year. She made clay and wax busts of the evangelist in 1996.
The sculpture had just finished a metal treatment and Copeland had only to give it one more polish before handing it over to the university for display at Christ’s Chapel.
She said she is sad he will never be able to see the work, but fondly remembers how pleasant and peaceful he was when he sat for her.
“He’s gone, but this is here for people to see and remember the good things he did,” she said.
Dyson said Roberts was a virtuous, energetic and determined man whose vision and hope will outlive him.
“ORU graduates around the world will continue his work and legacy in the work that they do and people they touch,” he said.