ORU dedicates Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center
BY BILL SHERMAN World Staff Writer
Saturday, February 02, 2013
2/02/13 at 7:45 AM
The first new building on the Oral Roberts University campus in 30 years - the Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center - was dedicated at the Friday morning chapel service.
The hourlong dedication was held at Christ Chapel, a few minutes walk from the new building, so that students and guests would be out of the chilly weather.
ORU President Mark Rutland addressed the chapel service on a big screen by live video as he walked through the new center, explaining its features.
"This is the campus living room, a place to have fellowship and fun," he said.
Students, faculty and staff members, alumni and local officials packed the chapel for the dedication.
Later, still on camera, Rutland walked into the chapel service.
"Did you think I would miss chapel this morning?" he asked as the students cheered.
Michael Hammer, who provided the lead gift for the $12 million, 28,000-square-foot project, said that in 2001 he was at a conference with Richard Roberts, then ORU's president, when Roberts mentioned the need for a student center and a lead gift to launch the project.
"I felt God put that on my heart. ... I raised my hand and said I would do it," said Hammer, chairman and CEO of the Armand Hammer Foundation.
It took more than a decade, but "this is the time it was meant to be," he said. "I wanted it named for my grandfather."
Armand Hammer was an oil tycoon and philanthropist associated with Occidental Petroleum.
Michael Hammer told the students that his life changed dramatically after he accepted Christ as an adult and that his grandfather noticed the change.
"He invited me to come (see him) ... and said, 'Michael, I need that peace.' "
Hammer said his famous grandfather accepted Christ, weeping, at age 91, and died at 92.
His portrait is in the entryway of the building that bears his name.
Rutland made Hammer promise to ask his son, actor Armie Hammer, to visit ORU. Armie Hammer has the lead role in the upcoming Disney film "The Lone Ranger" with Johnnie Depp as Tonto.
Daniel Guajardo, vice president for student life, gave the dedication prayer for the new center.
After the dedication, Rutland led students and guests to the new building for a ribbon-cutting and tours.
"It was one year ago today that we broke ground on this building," he said. "So let's open it up. Students, it's yours."
Freshman Lara Allen of Tulsa said the building is "super high-tech. It's a really good addition to our school. It's awesome that Mark Rutland could leave this legacy for us, even though he's moving on."
Rutland will step down as ORU's president June 30.
Jenava Freesemann, a sophomore who lives off campus in Tulsa, said, "You actually have a place to study on campus, with places to eat and a lot of seating, a place for everyone to go."
Chris Holmes, a sophomore from Tulsa, said the facility "connects the entire campus."
Original Print Headline: 'Fellowship and fun' place
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
Guests look out over the Oral Roberts University campus Friday from the new Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Oral Roberts University President Mark Rutland (left) and Michael Hammer talk with Mart Green before a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at the grand opening of the Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center. Michael Hammer provided the lead gift for the center, and it is named for his grandfather. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
People walk past the new Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center on Friday at Oral Roberts University. It is the first new campus building in 30 years. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Braden McCready of Broken Arrow, a junior at Oral Roberts University, eats lunch and watches television Friday in the new Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World