Dr. Eric Jordan, professor of Mechanical Engineering, and his family have pledged over $25,000 to establish a new undergraduate scholarship in the School of Engineering. They conceived of the scholarship, named the Lieutenant Allan Jordan Veterans Scholarship, as a way to honor and assist military veterans in securing a college education. Allan Jordan was Dr. Jordan’s older brother. A U.S. Marine, he was killed in Vietnam in 1968 at the age of 25.
In establishing the scholarship, Dr. Jordan said that “People involved with veterans’ issues have strong feelings, for obvious reason, and to us it is surprising that there are so few of these types of scholarships available. It is a privilege for me to be able to help such deserving individuals to get a UConn engineering education. For individuals who make these sacrifices, no reward is more valuable.”
The scholarship will be awarded to a full-time undergraduate student who qualifies for admission and will be selected among veterans based on level of sacrifice.
Lieutenant Jordan died in a mission to save Marines pinned down in an ambush. He crossed open ground raked by small arms fire to reach an observation hill, where he successfully spotted artillery fire that broke up the ambush, thus saving many fellow Marines. At the very end of this mission, he was killed by mortar fire. Posthumously, he was awarded a Bronze Star for heroism. Dr. Jordan recalls that Allan was a graduate of Union college and loved the outdoors, particularly challenging hikes throughout New England, and enjoyed playing the drums.
UConn is a family affair. Dr. Jordan joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in 1979 after earning his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. His wife, Janet, is the Manager of the Instructional Resource Center, part of the Institute for Teaching & Learning. The couple’s twin daughters, Katherine and Elizabeth, are UConn engineering graduates, though their son, currently a graduate student at MIT, completed his undergraduate degree at Penn State University. Katherine (’05) earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, while Elizabeth (’06) completed her B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering. Both young women received academic merit scholarships while attending UConn, a fact that further underscored the Jordan family commitment to funding a scholarship for veterans, who have risked their lives to ensure the security of the U.S.
Dr. Jordan hopes to inspire others to follow his family’s legacy by providing veterans an educational opportunity at UConn that may otherwise prove difficult to attain.