According to the university it was founded by Oral Roberts in 1963 “as a result of the evangelist Oral Roberts’ obeying God’s mandate to build a university on God’s authority and the Holy Spirit. God’s commission to Oral Roberts was to ‘Raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim, where My voice is heard small, and My healing power is not known, even to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased’.” The first students enrolled in 1965. For more information Wiki: Oral Roberts University.
Architects Stanfield, Imel & Walton of Tulsa designed the 1963 master plan but most of the buildings were designed by Tulsa architect Frank Wallace. Interviewed in 2010, Wallace characterized his ORU buildings as “sculptures”, noting that an inspiration for his artistic sensibility was “whittling since I was a kid”. It has also been suggested that the buildings may have been inspired by Tulsa’s art deco architectural heritage along with Bruce Goff’s individualistic style and creative use of new materials. By 2007 the campus was described as “a perfect representation of the popular modernistic architecture of the time… the set of the The Jetsons” but also “shabby” and “dated, like Disney’s Tomorrowland.” Maintenance of the many unique but aging buildings, structures and architectural details on campus was cited as a growing problem for the university. In 2008, $10 million was set aside from Green family donations for long deferred maintenance on many campus buildings, along with the prayer tower. Another $10 million was donated by the Green family and budgeted for work during the summer of 2009.