For nearly a decade, Oral Roberts University (ORU) has been developing new programs, adding new construction, and investing in new technologies, keeping pace with the unprecedented development of its hometown, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa was recognized by CNN as one of 2022’s “best destinations to visit” in the world, along with Valencia, Spain, Naples, Italy, and Lahti, Finland.
Tulsa is more than a destination; it’s also a growing home to businesses, investors, and startups. WalletHub ranked Tulsa a Top 30 “Best Large Cities to Start a Business” and lists Tulsa #4 in America for “business costs” based on office-space affordability, labor costs, corporate taxes, and cost of living. As Tulsa’s corporate attraction expanded, ORU responded to meet the rising demand for business education.
Investing In A World-Class Business Program
For more than 50 years, ORU has been advancing business education differently from other universities. As a Spirit-empowered University, ORU’s graduate school of businessfocuses on professionalism, business proficiency, and personal growth through faith. Academically, ORU students learn at one of the most engaging universities in America. In 2022, Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Ed ranked ORU top 5 in America for student engagement. In the whole-person education model,ORU students are taught to live with integrity and character, guided by a culture of honor with biblical values.
To serve Tulsa’s growing population and its economic development, ORU has invested heavily in graduate business education. With a $2.5M donation from alumni Rick Fenimore and Terry Fisher, the founders and managing partners of Trinity Chemical Industries/TCIX Rail, ORU has made technological and academic enhancements to its Fenimore Fisher Graduate School of Business (FFGSB). The new FFGSB Capital Markets Trading Floor, an addition to ORU’s Graduate Finance Program, offers a cutting-edge classroom that was developed hand-in-hand with ORU’s Student-Managed Investment Fund. The Fund provides graduate students an opportunity to make real-time stock market trades, evaluate economic and industry data, and build a stock portfolio using the S&P 500 as a benchmark.
In addition, ORU’s Graduate School has added a Practicum in Portfolio Management. This practicum is designed to equip student managers with the hands-on experience needed for careers in finance, banking, investments, and money management. Using the Capital Markets Trading Floor, practicum students are taught how to manage equity portfolios and optimize state-of-the-art investment tools, such as Bloomberg and Factset.
Investing in State-of-the-Art Technology
ORU’s significant investment in the Graduate School of Business is part of an ongoing plan to invest in the University’s future. To keep pace with Tulsa’s influx of new businesses and corporations, ORU is investing $75M in campus improvements, including a new library, welcome center, media arts center, and athletics center. These additions, which will be completed over the next two years, follow a decade of construction that saw the dedication of a new student union, a new track, and ORU’s internationally-recognized Global Learning Center (GLC). The GLC, which was completed in 2015, has become a world-renowned hub for virtual and augmented reality technologies. With the addition of the GLC, ORU’s campus has become globally known as a technological leader, a reputation that’s further enhanced by Titan, ORU’s supercomputer. Titan received funding from the National Science Foundation and has been instrumental in advancing quantum chemistry, pharmaceutical, and Covid research. To further Titan’s impact, ORU opened the Stanley White i4 Digital Enterprise Lab, a cutting-edge, collaborative learning environment with separate spaces dedicated to instruction and presentation. The i4 lab was made possible by a $200K donation from the Stanley White Foundation
Investing in Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs Today
Along with technology and campus improvements, ORU has been investing heavily in entrepreneurial education. Policygenius ranked Tulsa #12 on its list of top 25 “Best cities to start a business in 2022,” making Tulsa a destination for startups and entrepreneurs. To support these opportunities, ORU established the Stovall Center for Entrepreneurship, an innovative hub for training entrepreneurs through academic and professional programs, industry collaboration, mentoring, and global initiatives. The Center was funded by a $1M donation, along with a $500K matching grant.
Annually, the Stovall Center hosts The Launch, a campus-wide competition that helps business majors and student entrepreneurs go from idea to launch in six months. With guidance from mentors and investors, student teams develop business strategies and compete for startup funding and prizes. The Launch has been integral in supporting several new businesses, including TeleportED, a virtual reality company, and Pet Loose, which specializes in GPS dog collars.
Investing in a Multicultural Community
With so many businesses, startups, and investors moving to Tulsa, the city’s identity continues to change, not just economically but culturally too. Tulsa has now become a “majority-minority city,” which means more than half of Tulsans are people of color. And with an emerging generation of black entrepreneurs, Travel Noire listed Tulsa as one of “8 Cities Black Americans Should Consider For Career Growth In 2022.” To support Tulsa’s diverse community, ORU has invested heavily in a growing campus of multicultural learners and international students.
With a focus on global education, ORU has expanded its enrollment to include students from all 50 states and 142 nations over the past three years. Recognizing ORU for its growing diversity and globalism, Niche ranked ORU one of 2022’s Top 25 most diverse universities in America, along with Stanford, NYU, MIT, and Princeton. This diversity, from a classroom perspective, plays an important role in education at ORU. While pursuing a degree, ORU students work beside and learn with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, integrating different perspectives and improving intellectual engagement.
Investing in the Next Generation of Business Leaders
ORU trains leaders to live with purpose and to answer God’s call to change the world. Students in the Graduate School of Business pursue wholeness and integrity in their relationships, attributes they take into the business world and apply to career success. ORU’s unique form of education—a Spirit-empowered whole-person education—is in demand, instilling leaders, creators, and entrepreneurs with ethical awareness and principled living.
Much like Tulsa, with its national reputation as a city for business and industry, ORU has a national reputation that’s fueling unprecedented growth. Last fall, ORU’s enrollment grew for the 13th consecutive year, marking the largest year-over-year recorded percentage growth at ORU in over 25 years. In the years to come, more and more businesses will choose Tulsa to call home, attracted by the city’s business environment and access to resources. One of these resources is higher education, and ORU has positioned itself to meet this educational need through extensive investments in technology, facilities, and services.
Read the full Magazine: “The 10 Best Business Schools for 2023”