Chancellor Oral Roberts, founder of Oral Roberts University, is recognized as one of the outstanding personalities of his generation. Educator, evangelist, businessman, author, and television personality are among the many titles for which Roberts has gained acclaim.
He received his formal education at Oklahoma Baptist and Phillips universities. In 1947 he resigned his pastorate to enter an evangelistic ministry to pray for the healing of the whole man. Since then he has conducted more than 300 evangelistic and healing crusades on six continents and has appeared as a guest speaker for hundreds of national and international meetings and conventions.
Oral Roberts has written more than 120 books, including his autobiography, “Expect a Miracle,” and “Miracle of Seed-Faith,” with nearly eight million copies in circulation. His latest books include “Seed-Faith 2000” and “Still Doing the Impossible.”
As part of his work as an author, Roberts published several written commentaries on the Bible, as well as a complete commentary on CD’s: Oral Roberts Reading the New Testament with His Life’s Teachings. The CD set includes the reading of the Scriptures, a personal comment on each passage of the New Testament, and prayers. This is also available in book form.
The university that bears Oral Roberts’ name was chartered in 1963 and accepted its first students in 1965. The campus now has 23 major buildings and over 3,000 students are enrolled in 65 undergraduate concentrations, 14 graduate-level degree programs in business, education, and theology, and 2 doctoral programs in theology and education. Roberts has served as Chancellor since 1993.
Roberts also founded University Village, a retirement complex for 450 residents.
In 1981 Roberts founded the City of Faith Medical and Research Center, the largest health facility of its kind in the world, in order to merge the healing streams of prayer and medicine as God had revealed it to him. The City of Faith was in operation for eight years and closed in late 1989, having revolutionized the medical world’s concept of primary patient care and the importance of treating the whole person—spirit, mind, and body.
Granville Oral Roberts was born January 24, 1918, in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, the fifth and youngest child of Rev. and Mrs. Ellis M. Roberts. He is proud of his Oklahoma and Indian heritage, and in 1963 he was honored as “Indian of the Year” by the American Indian Exposition. In 1973 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. In 1974 he was named “Oklahoman of the Year” by the American Broadcasters Association. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Centenary College in 1975 and an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in 1988. He has been listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, Who’s Who in Society, Who’s Who in Religion, Current Biography, Contemporary Authors, Webster’s American Biographies, New York Times Biography Edition, Biography Index, Celebrity Register, and the World Almanac Book of Who.
Roberts’ “darling wife” Evelyn, to whom he was married for more than 66 years, went home to be with the Lord on May 4, 2005. Oral and Evelyn Roberts are the parents of four children: the late Mrs. Rebecca Nash, the late Ronald Roberts, Richard Roberts, and Mrs. Roberta Potts. They have 13 grandchildren, one of whom is in heaven, and several great-grandchildren.
Roberts has been active in Tulsa community life. He has served on the boards of the Bank of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Natural Gas and is a lifetime member and a Harris Fellow of Rotary International.