New $6 million Welcome Center becomes front door to campus visitors

ORU’s new $6 million Welcome Center is “the center of anything student life,” says admissions specialist Alan Guillerro.

Rachel Schrader, Senior Writer

Walking into the Graduate Center early on a Monday morning, Alan Guillerro expected to see the usual commotion: a flurry of students passing the concierge desk, professors conversing and Sodexo workers setting up for a long day of smoothie- and coffee-making.


Instead, he was met with a wide swing of the Admissions Office door and a box full of his belongings.


Guillerro, an admissions specialist at Oral Roberts University, accepted his things and the transition with open arms. The opening of the Welcome Center in mid-September meant all Admissions staff transferred to new offices to enjoy the amenities of the modern building, including various presentation and conference rooms, a kitchen, a break room and a beautiful view of the 60-foot Healing Hands sculpture, often referred to colloquially as “the Praying Hands.”


Guillerro first found out about the new building in the beginning of 2021. Since then, the office has been preparing and moving equipment with the help of Student Ambassadors.


“My initial reaction was excitement,” Guillerro said. “We were all eager to find out more details about the building and the location.”


The $6 million, 13,774-square-foot Welcome Center now serves as home to multiple offices, including International Admissions; Campus Visits and Operations; and Veterans Experience. The building, located directly south of the Healing Hands at the main entrance to campus, provides prospective students with full access to ORU’s enrollment team.


“One thing we do miss is, compared to the other building, we would usually see students walking in and out,” said Guillerro. “Sometimes they would stop and say ‘hi.’ The community aspect we miss a little bit, plus having Hava Java and smoothies or the Deli down the hall.”


Though the location of the Welcome Center changes a big part of day-to-day operations, Admissions expect the flow of traffic to increase when Quest events, those held for prospective students visiting ORU, begin Oct. 28.


“It’s the center of anything student life,” said Guillerro. “I’m sure it will pick up once students decide to come visit and are going to start college.”


As a student ambassador, Amiyah Zarazua works as a campus tour guide to new and prospective students, their families and other visitors. Before the new building, tours could be a major cause of stress and confusion for visiting families, Zarazua said.


“The hustle and bustle of students in the GC may appear rude they’re running late or they’re having a bad day,” Zarazua said. But the new building offers “a fresh start” for visitors, he said.

“The Welcome Center is so cool and starts off the tour in a very professional manner.”


From the Welcome Center, families make their way to the Healing Hands for a photo with the tour guides.


“When we come back to the Welcome Center, you’ll get a picture with your tour guide of you and your family in front of the Praying Hands,” said Zarasua. “We get to sign it, which I think is so heartwarming.”


Getting to work near the Praying Hands has been a major inspiration for Zarasua.


“The reflection of the Praying Hands in the window is beautiful,” said Zarazua. “It’s one of my big things as a psychology major, that’s what we’re all about. The Healing Hands represent the understanding of science and the Lord coming together.”