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“ORU is always growing, and it’s always going”: The J.D. McKean Library

Oral Roberts University President William Wilson, center, dedicates the new $18 million J.D. McKean Library last week along with guest speakers and members of the Board of Trustees.

J.D. McKean, an Oklahoma City entrepreneur and physician, became a huge follower of Oral Roberts and his ministry even before the university was built.


“Brother Roberts’ ministry has been an important and powerful moment in my life ever since I can remember,” said McKean, speaking last week at the dedication ceremony for the campus’ new $18 million library. “My mother was a supporter of his ministry.”


He had the privilege of going to every crusade that Roberts had in Oklahoma City over the years, McKean said, highlighting how excited he was to hear about Oral Roberts University being established in 1963.


The Holy Spirit spoke to McKean in 1993 with what McKean described as a very “special” and very “specific” word.


“It was regarding ORU,” McKean said. “I did exactly what the Holy Spirit told me to do as soon as I could do it. It has a very positive effect on the future of ORU.” 


In 1997, in obedience to the Holy Spirit, McKean founded the JDM Foundation, which has provided scholarships for hundreds of ORU students.


In recognition of McKean’s long-term support, faculty, staff, students and special guests came together Aug. 18 for the dedication of the J.D. McKean Library, one of three new buildings in the university’s $77 million “Whole Leaders for the Whole World” campaign.


McKean described it as “a great honor for this library to bear my name.”


“I don’t deserve it,” McKean said, but added that “ORU has been in my spiritual DNA my whole life.”


Talking about the building’s design, ORU President William Wilson explained how the Board of Trustees wanted the library to make two statements about the university.


“We are committed to academic excellence at ORU,” said Wilson. “We also wanted to make a statement that we are committed to the power of the Holy Spirit in our generation and in 21st century.”


Hence, the new library includes technological advancements such as smart TV displays and a virtual-realty Innovation Station, along with a Holy Spirit Research Center.


The new library will be a part of every ORU student’s whole life, Wilson said, because “lives are going to be changed, discoveries will be made, assignments will be completed, friendships will be fostered in a quiet way and research will be accomplished.”


U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern, a guest speaker at the library’s dedication ceremony, suggested that the new building captures the essence of ORU’s character.


“You cannot have innovation or change without growth,” Hern said. “ORU is always growing the campus, the enrollment and the research taking place here in this very building. Two things are true about this place: ORU is always growing and it’s always going.”

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Sevyn Bahntu
Sevyn Bahntu, Staff Writer
Ceci Howell
Ceci Howell, Photographer

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