For ORU Spirit’s Hannah Raymer, Cheer Is More Than a Sport … It’s a Chance to Share Her Faith
Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma
ORU Spirit | Area of Study: Psychology
This April, ORU’s cheer team—a/k/a ORU Spirit—will be traveling to Daytona Beach to compete in the College National Championships. For ORU senior Hannah Raymer—a team co-captain—it’s a culmination of the hard work and discipline that’s demanded in her sport. For Hannah, being an athlete isn’t just about competing and performing; it’s also about expressing her faith.
“When you cheer at ORU,” Hannah said, “you're actually representing something bigger than yourself. What you do, your actions … it all reflects on the University, and the way people view this University, that shapes people’s relationship with the Lord. When I cheer … whenever I’m smiling … that’s worship to me because not only do I love what I’m doing, I’m also influencing others.”
But Hannah’s expression of faith doesn’t stop with her; it’s also integral to the team that she’s a part of. For all athletic teams at ORU, faith and prayer are part of the playing experience. Hannah says that when it comes to ORU Spirit, prayer plays an important part in the team’s dynamic.
“At the beginning of the semester,” Hannah said, “we took everyone’s name, split them up, and started praying for them. And as part of our training, we ask God to help us stay motivated and focused. Our chaplains pray for us before practice, and then after practice, someone from the team usually prays. I love being part of a team that seeks the Lord.”
"When I cheer … whenever I’m smiling … that’s worship to me because not only do I love what I’m doing, I’m also influencing others.”
Medicine as an Expression of Faith
Expressing her faith … it’s something that’s important to Hannah. She sees it in cheer, but she also sees it in her future career. As a psychology major, Hannah has plans to work in medical missions and become a physician’s assistant. She’s preparing by volunteering at a local hospital, where she works in the cardiovascular ICU. Hannah sees medicine as an expression of her faith because it allows her to serve others.
“Doctors are called to serve their patients,” Hannah said, “but they’re also called to have faith for their patients. You pray for them, and you intercede for them. Patients struggle emotionally, spiritually, and physically, and yes, you’re supposed to take care of those patients, but you’re also supposed to have faith for them in whatever area they need.”
To have “faith for” someone, as Hannah describes it, is part of the experience at ORU. In the classroom, ORU professors have faith for their students. It’s a faith that’s displayed through prayer, and it’s a faith that’s displayed through compassion. It’s something that Hannah has experienced in her classes at ORU, and it’s impacted her as a person.
“When I first came to college,” Hannah said, “I struggled with debilitating anxiety, but my chemistry professor Dr. Catherine Klehm cared enough to work with me and to help me get better. She prayed for me, she challenged me, and she reminded me that the Holy Spirit is always with me. It was empowering. At another university, I don’t know if I would’ve gotten that attention. I don’t know if I would’ve persevered over my anxiety.”
Learning in a Diverse Community
In May, Hannah will graduate with a degree in psychology and minors in missions, health sciences, and biochemistry. Looking back at her time at ORU, she says that ORU’s student diversity—ranked #1 in Oklahoma by Niche (2023)—has played a big part in her growth. Hannah says that before she came to ORU, her exposure to international cultures was limited.
“Diversity is a big part of the ORU experience,” Hannah said. “Here, you get an intercultural experience. You have conversations with people from different countries, from places that you’ve never been exposed to. It’s so beautiful … the different languages, foods, and cultures that are on our campus. When you see multiple cultures and different demographics coming together, it exemplifies Christ. For me, this has been an important part of my experience at ORU.”
ABOUT ORAL ROBERTS UNIVERSITY
ORU is a Christian, Spirit-empowered, interdenominational university in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with over a decade of consecutive enrollment growth. Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, ORU offers over 150 majors, minors, concentrations, and pre-professional programs at the bachelor’s level, ranging from business and engineering to nursing, ministry, and more. Under the leadership of President Dr. William Wilson, ORU is preparing students from all 50 states and 142 nations (from 2019 to 2022) to be whole leaders for the whole world.
The Wall Street Journal ranked ORU as the #4 university in the nation for student engagement. This ranking is based upon faculty interactions, collaborative learning, critical thinking, real-world applications of student learning, the extent to which classes challenge students, and whether students would recommend a university to others. Niche recognizes ORU as one of the most diverse colleges in America.
ORU has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as:
- #1 in Undergraduate Teaching
- #2 in Most International Students
- #3 in Best Value
- #6 in Best College for Veterans
- #7 in Best Regional Colleges in the West
For more information, visit www.oru.edu.