When a retired Fresno State agriculture professor shared his enthusiasm for his college’s programs at a social gathering years ago, he never suspected that the result would be a $29,442,516 million cash gift to the Fresno State College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology — the largest single cash gift ever received by the university or in the California State University system.
The gift is on behalf of the Jordan family: Hanabul “Bud” Jordan; his wife Dee; and his brother Lowell. The Jordan family is from the East Bay, where Bud owned and operated a construction business headquartered in Hayward and where Lowell lived on the family ranch in Dublin, tending to the family’s cattle. Bud Jordan died April 29, 2002, at the age of 83 and Lowell Jordan passed away in July 2005 at the age of 81. Dee Jordan still lives in Hayward.
The Jordan family gift is to be used for research and facilities for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (CAST). Fresno State President John D. Welty will consult with the campus Academic Senate Executive Committee and then ask the California State University Board of Trustees to name the college the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at the trustees’ meeting May 12-13, 2009.
The Jordan family began supporting CAST through the Ag One Foundation in November 1995. Bob Glim, professor emeritus of agricultural economics and an adviser to the Ag One board worked at Fresno State from 1948 to 1978. He and his wife Dorothy first met Bud and Dee Jordan at a GMC motor home rally.
The Glims organized one of the rally get-togethers and gave a talk about Fresno State’s ag program and the Ag One Foundation. He shared some products grown on the Fresno State farm. The Jordans were at this meeting and subsequently began supporting scholarships for ag students even though they had never visited the campus. Their first gift was a $20,000 check to Ag One given to Glim at a rally.
This initial gift and subsequent gifts fund the Ag One – Lowell A. Jordan and Jordan Family Endowment. Over the years, the Jordan family contributed $130,000 to this endowment which supports six to seven deserving students each year with scholarships of $1,000.
Welty said the latest Jordan gift will play a major role in further strengthening the agricultural program at the university.
“This incredible gift will fund projects that the college had only just dreamed of,” Welty said. “It’s a rare and wonderful opportunity to make a profound impact on the college. We know we have outstanding, world-class agriculture programs. This gift will definitely establish Fresno State as the university of choice for top agriculture students.”
Welty said this gift is testament to the power of relationships. “Although the Jordans didn’t live in our region, they connected to the university through our people,” Welty said. “The Jordans believed in what Fresno State was accomplishing and this generous gift assures that we will continue to advance.”
After their initial gift in 1995, Ag One Executive Director and CAST Development Director Alcidia Freitas-Gomes regularly visited the Jordans in Hayward, bringing updates on their scholarship recipients, news from the college and student-produced food items from Fresno State.
“It has been an honor to perpetuate the Jordan name through their support of scholarships over the years,” said Gomes. “The extraordinary generosity of this gift will transform the educational experience for our students and faculty and for industry we serve through research.”
Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, said, “We are blessed and honored to receive this generous gift from the Jordan family. This is a landmark moment for the college — one that will change our college forever and have a positive impact on generations of students.”
Since Bud Jordan’s passing, his wife Dee has visited the campus numerous times. Mrs. Jordan has met several Jordan scholars, toured campus agriculture facilities and attended Ag One and Fresno State athletic events.
The gift is the result of the sale of the Jordans’ Dublin ranch and is to be used by the College of Agricultural Science and Technology for facilities and research.
In the coming months, Boyer and Gomes will work with faculty and university administration to determine precisely how the funds will be used in the college. A naming ceremony for the college will be held May 14.