Hobby Lobby $10 Million Gift to Southeastern University

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Information about Hobby Lobby $10 Million Gift to Southeastern University

Published on March 17, 2016

Author: DanielIbarrondoJDEdS

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1. 3/16/16, 6:26 PM Page 1 of 3http://www.theledger.com/article/20090128/NEWS/901280278?template=printpicart DAVID MILLS | THE LEDGER (2008) Mark Rutland Rutland's New Job Comes With Huge Gift for Southeastern By CARY McMULLEN LEDGER RELIGION EDITOR Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 2:08 p.m. AKELAND | Mark Rutland said it is 'heart- rending' for him to leave Southeastern University, where he has been president for the past 10 years. A $10 million gift to Southeastern eased the pain. On Wednesday, the board of trustees of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., announced they unanimously elected Rutland to lead the troubled school out of debt and scandal. Rutland, who oversaw a transformation of Southeastern during his tenure here, will assume his new post in July. Rutland, 61, had announced earlier this month that he was the leading candidate for the president's job at Oral Roberts. A news release from the school stated that Rutland was chosen out of 130 candidates over a nine-month search process. $10 million gift At the same time Rutland was hired, Mart Green, chairman of Oral Roberts' board of trustees, announced his family's business, the craft store chain Hobby Lobby Inc., will give a $10 million gift over the next five years to Southeastern to bolster the school's financial situation. Rutland said it is the largest gift Southeastern has ever received and maybe the largest single gift ever given to an Assemblies of God-related college. Speaking by phone from Tulsa, Rutland said initially he was not interested in the post at Oral Roberts, but as discussions proceeded, he told Green 'it would be a deciding factor' if he and his family would give a 'substantial' gift to Southeastern. He said Green notified him Dec. 29 that if Rutland were confirmed as president of Oral Roberts, Hobby Lobby would give $10 million. Rutland called the gift 'astonishing.' 'These are marvelously generous people. They're not parochial, just focused on Oral Roberts. They're very interested in Christian education,' he said. Green gave a slightly different account. 'I don't remember Mark asking for a gift. He knew that Southeastern has some debt, and he wanted to leave it in a strong position. My family prayed about it and decided This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the "Reprints" tool that appears above any article. Order a reprint of this article now.

2. 3/16/16, 6:26 PM Page 2 of 3http://www.theledger.com/article/20090128/NEWS/901280278?template=printpicart to give $2 million a year for five years. It's our way of helping Southeastern, making it a little bit stronger,' he said by phone. Rutland said decisions about how the money will be spent will be up to Southeastern's board. Since becoming president of Southeastern in January 1999, Rutland has presided over dramatic growth. Enrollment has expanded from 950 to 3,079 students in September 2008. The school has undertaken 16 construction or renovation projects, including two new dormitories and a proposed office and classroom building, totaling more than $50 million, according to Southeastern. challenges ahead Rutland will face a similarly daunting task at Oral Roberts. Named for the famed televangelist who founded it, the independent university has been rocked by allegations of financial misdeeds in recent years. The previous president, Richard Roberts, son of Oral Roberts, resigned in November 2007 amid charges by former faculty members that he and his wife used university funds to support a lavish lifestyle. Shortly after Roberts' resignation, it was disclosed the school was about $55 million in debt. Because of gifts from Green's family and alumni, the debt was reduced to $13 million. But just this month, the school was forced to lay off 53 employees, including four faculty members — about 6 percent of the work force — in order to reduce its operating budget by $3.5 million, according to The Associated Press. Green said the university was 'on life support' but has begun a miraculous recovery. He said Rutland was an 'ideal candidate' to guide the school's turnaround, based on his record at Southeastern. 'We have a mission, but we're not doing well with economic sustainability. We're about the same size as Southeastern. We needed somebody with his kind of experience,' he said. Rutland is the author of 13 books, hosts a syndicated radio program and is the founder of ministries in Ghana and Thailand. He is noted for his interest in leadership education, and in 2006, he began an annual conference, The National Leadership Forum, that has attracted nationally known speakers, including former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. game plan ready Rutland said he would spend time getting to know the school but already has a goal in mind. 'The No. 1 priority, it's pretty obvious, is the same as it was at Southeastern — a sustained period of enrollment growth,' he said. Rutland said he met with the 91-year-old Oral Roberts last week.

3. 3/16/16, 6:26 PM Page 3 of 3http://www.theledger.com/article/20090128/NEWS/901280278?template=printpicart 'It was a great visit. He was extremely affirming. He said the Lord had revealed to him that I was the guy. It was like a handing-over. It was very touching,' he said. touch choices Rutland said the decision to leave Southeastern left him with mixed emotions. 'I really loved Lakeland, and I loved Southeastern, but this seems to be clearly the direction for us right now,' he said. Not even a treacherous winter storm could prevent Rutland from being elected. The Tulsa area saw a little more than an inch of sleet and snow Tuesday night, with a low temperature of 9 degrees, quite a contrast to Lakeland's high of almost 80 degrees Wednesday. Rutland joked, 'What's up with that?' He added that he had been assured it was the worst weather Tulsa had seen in 10 years. 'I thought, OK, we're not seeing it in a false light, when the sun is shining and the cherries are in bloom,' he said. Southeastern's board of regents will appoint a search committee to look for a replacement. [ Cary McMullen can be reached at cary.mcmullen@theledger.com or 863-802- 7509. Read his blog at religion.theledger.com. ] Copyright © 2016 TheLedger.com — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.

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