Dee Jordan, a well-known philanthropist who supported Fresno State agricultural education, has died.
In 2009, Mrs. Jordan’s family sold their Dublin-based farm and gave $29.5 million to Fresno State’s Ag One Foundation, the single largest cash donation ever given to the California State University system.
Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, as well as the new Jordan Agricultural Research Center, slated to open in 2016, are named after the family.
The 30,000-square-foot research facility is the first of its kind in the CSU system and is designed to unite agricultural academic research and hands-on application with students and the industry. The Jordans also have donated thousands for student scholarships.
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“We are so deeply saddened that Mrs. Jordan will not be with us to celebrate the opening of the incredible research facility she and her family made possible, but their support will have a broad and long-lasting impact for the entire region,” said Sandra Witte, interim dean of the Jordan College.
“Inside those walls, our students and faculty will work side by side with industry to solve the most complex challenges facing agriculture. The Jordan Agricultural Research Center will be the hub of innovation in agriculture for years to come.”
Mrs. Jordan and her beautiful family are among the greatest benefactors this university has ever known, and our students, faculty and staff will be forever touched by her generosity.
Fresno State President Joseph Castro
The Jordan family – including Mrs. Jordan’s husband, Bud, who owned a construction business in Hayward, and her brother-in-law, Lowell, who oversaw the family ranch – has been ranked among the top 20 of the country’s philanthropists, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Slate magazine. Bud and Lowell Jordan also are deceased.
At the groundbreaking ceremony held for the research center last year, Mrs. Jordan said, “(Bud and Lowell) would be so very pleased to see not only the family legacy tied to Fresno State agriculture but to know that the future of agriculture will be well served by the work to be done in the research center.”
Mrs. Jordan, of San Francisco, was 87 when she died Nov. 17.
“The impact of the Jordan family gift was transformational for Fresno State and continues to help us make our agricultural programs among the best in the nation,” Fresno State President Joseph Castro said in a statement. “Mrs. Jordan and her beautiful family are among the greatest benefactors this university has ever known, and our students, faculty and staff will be forever touched by her generosity.”
The Jordans’ interest in Fresno State began with their friend Bob Glim, a professor emeritus of agricultural economics who worked at Fresno State from 1948 to 1978. He and his wife, Dorothy, first met Bud and Dee Jordan at a GMC 49ers motor home club rally.
The Glims organized one of the rallies and gave a talk about Fresno State’s agricultural program and the Ag One Foundation, which supports students and programs in the college. He shared some products grown on the Fresno State farm. The Jordans were at the rally and subsequently began supporting scholarships for students, even though they had never visited the Fresno State campus. Their first gift was $20,000.