published Monday, February 4th, 2013

Wilson set to lead Oral Roberts University

  • photo
    William Wilson takes the stage after being named president of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa on Jan. 31.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Dr. William "Billy" Wilson, a longtime Cleveland resident and ministry leader, has been named the next president of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.

University board Chairman Mart Green announced Thursday that Wilson, 54, would become the Christian university's fourth president, effective July 1. Wilson was chosen from 170 candidates over a nine-month search, school officials said.

"The presidential search committee, board of trustees and I are confident we have found the best candidate to lead ORU to a bright and successful future while remaining true to its founding vision and core values," Green said in a news release.

"Chancellor Oral Roberts founded this university on big thinking and innovation. In this day and age where technology and culture are constantly shifting, Dr. Wilson's global vision, experience and relationships will be a catalyst for growth and transformation."

The release cited a number of spiritual-based, world-spanning coalitions and initiatives in which Wilson is involved, including the International Center for Spiritual Renewal in Cleveland, Tenn., where he is executive director. Through the center's Awakening America Project, Wilson helped to forge relations among 250 denominations and parachurch ministries.

Wilson, currently vice chairman of the ORU board, also "fostered unique global partnerships" through the university's "Empowered 21" project, an initiative intended to unite ministry leaders, scholars and the next generation of voices of the worldwide Pentecostal/Charismatic movement.

He brings plenty of media experience to his new role as the host of "World Impact with Billy Wilson" on television and is the author of several books.

Wilson said in a news release he is "honored and humbled to have been elected to lead ORU at this exciting time in its history."

"I am committed to increasing global access to our excellent, whole-person education that has prepared over 38,000 alumni to be world-changers in business, medicine, arts, ministry and beyond," he said in the release.

Wilson, a Kentucky native, also has had a local impact during more than 30 years of service to the Church of God of Prophecy and the Church of God.

"He has been a spiritual father of mine for many years," said William Lamb, the director of Lee University's Leonard Center, which is dedicated to student service-learning. "His greatest strength is to encourage younger generations, to mentor the next generation of leaders."

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