In August 2015, when I enrolled as a freshman at ORU, the places and faces around campus were a whole lot different compared to now. I would normally wake up in my dorm room on GoodFellas, Wesley six, and go spend my quiet time in the penthouse overlooking the hill and empty field behind towers. Chapel worship was lead by Jalen Thomas, Rachel Dew and Jonathan Swindell. Then, Bobby Parks took up the offering. When I would go cover the ORU men’s basketball games as a staff writer, I had to enter through the Baby Mabee. Princess parking in upper lot was always available since the lot was half empty all the time. I joke with my friends and say that the only people I recognize are those whose faces are on the walls of Saga.
But believe me, after my time here I still wouldn’t have chosen any other university to attend.
My family first heard of the ministry of Oral Roberts decades before I was born. At the time, my great-grandmother was suffering from cancer. She turned her television to some Oklahoma evangelist who was hosting a healing tent crusade. After watching the Holy Spirit heal countless lives, the man on the screen asked for anyone at home to go up to their television and put their hands on the screen as an act of faith. From that moment, my great-grandmother was healed. Years later, numerous family members have come through ORU believing in the university’s vision.
I still believe ORU’s biggest draw is the people. Former GoodFellas Cainan Balagia, Eric Yoder and Matt Price were instrumental in getting me involved with the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature. Thank you to former Oracle Editor-in-chief Jadyn Watson-Fisher for recruiting me to be a sports writer with Russ Dorsey. Heaven knows I wouldn’t be as good of a writer if it wasn’t for them, Alyssa Lacourse, Raegan (Dougharty) Gibson and our current EIC Cicely Rubottom. They deserve way more credit than what is given.
Thank you to my faculty advisers who have poured into my life in a multitude of ways. Dr. Linda Royall has brought skills and talents out of me that I wasn’t aware of. Professor Mark Labash isn’t just a professor; he’s a friend who will give you the shirt off his back, as long as he can first tell you a story of when he was an undergrad.
Thank you to my best friends: Brandon Jaquis, Kevin Goodman, Noah Orth, Stephen Hillborn, Tim Ganahl, Jared Jones, Mark Miles and Jacob Rincon. I thank God for you boys.
Thank you to Preston, Mama, Trey, Jamison, Jordan and Courtney for being there for me even though we were scattered across the country at times.
Most importantly, I want to thank my high school sweetheart, Emily. She didn’t have to stick with me. She could’ve stopped dating me after high school since I decided to go to Tulsa. But she wanted to give the long-distance relationship a try. I sure didn’t want to lose her. My friends freshman year said she and I would never make it. So take that, Alex and Tim. Emily hasn’t gotten rid of me yet, and I can’t wait to make her officially mine forever.
I didn’t intend for this to sound like a eulogy. I’m just really sentimental.
I’m also not called to be a preacher, but here’s my unsolicited advice. Life isn’t so complicated as it may seem. Hard work plus obedience to the Lord equals blessing. If you can live by that algorithm, life will be a whole lot more peaceful.
I love ORU. I’m going to miss this place next week when I pack up to head home and start my career. But I also just wanted to clear the air for one last time. I’m not from Texas, I’m from Florida.
A letter from the director of student media
Journalist Grant Holcomb, the Ben Shapiro of Oral Roberts University Student Media, will be sorely missed. Known as the “News Guy” of ORU, Grant personifies the qualities of a professional journalist, and the caliber of his reporting and Op/Ed is as good (and even better) than that of major news personalities.
Check out his work on grantholcomb.com, where his slogan, splashed across a worn American flag reads “I’m Not Fake News”. There you will find articles he has written, podcasts of his KORU radio show “Grant’s Grill Session” and video news packages.
Real is the deal you get with Grant. He researches until he gets to the bottom of things and then he reports fairly on both sides of the issue.
This guy belongs in D.C. or New York, and he will likely end up there. Grant has accepted a position with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, where he completed a summer internship doing political reporting across the state.
He recently turned down a position with a research organization in Tallahassee so he could stay in the political news genre. I foresee great things ahead for Grant and fully expect to see him in national news media in the years to come. So synch your saddle tight Grant–you are in for quite a ride! Godspeed.
—Dr. Linda Royall
Photo by Sterling Zoe Rubottom