NGU News

Dr. James D. Jordan, Jr., North Greenville’s Fifth President, Passes Away

Posted on: February 20, 2024
By Marty O'Gwynn,

Dr. James D. Jordan, Jr., North Greenville’s fifth president, died Saturday, February 17, 2024. He was 90 years old.

Born April 20, 1933, in Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. Jordan served as president of North Greenville College from 1981 to 1987.

A noted educator and minister, Dr. Jordan completed a bachelor’s degree in history from Furman University in 1955, graduating summa cum laude. He earned a Fulbright Scholarship and studied at the University of Strasbourg in France for a year before returning to the United States to pursue a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was ordained to the gospel ministry by Ashley River Baptist Church in 1956 and served as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Newton, North Carolina, while completing his seminary degree.

Dr. Jordan broadened his academic interests as a graduate student in church history at Duke University from 1960 to 1963 and earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Duke in 1966.

“Dr. Jordan was a highly respected educator who deployed his gifts as an academician, pastor and administrator to further the work of North Greenville,” said NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. “One of the testaments to his leadership in Tigerville is that people he employed for our institution four decades ago are still actively serving at the university today. He built a legacy of utilizing his God-given talents and doing so with a sincere concern for others.”

Dr. Jordan joined the faculty of Oxford College of Emory University in 1963 and became an associate professor of religion at Mars Hill College in 1964. He was named associate professor of history at Georgia Southern College in 1969 before being promoted to head of the college’s department of history and geography in 1972, and to the rank of professor in 1974.

He returned to his native state in the summer of 1981 and was president of NGC for six years before moving to the presidency of Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, in 1987. He served as the Georgia Baptist Convention institution for six years. During his tenure as a Baptist higher education administrator, he was an active member of the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools. He also served on several visiting committees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges regional accrediting agency.

“Dr. Jordan was an outstanding success in engaging alumni and friends of the college and planting seeds for the future,” said Dr. Fred Payne, the college’s chief advancement officer during the Jordan presidency. “We were able to complete North Greenville’s first multi-million-dollar capital campaign, ‘Opportunity for Excellence,’ raising significant support for scholarships, housing, and other needs. Dr. Jordan and his wife were an exemplary ‘First Couple,’ smart, caring, and organized in leading the school.”

In ministerial service, Dr. Jordan was a pastor or interim pastor for churches in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. He frequently preached across the region and was a sought-after inspirational speaker. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and growing roses.

Dr. Jordan is survived by his wife of 68 years, Barbara Watts Jordan; two children, Jean Jordan Misiewicz (Victor), and James “Jay” Jordan (Jackie); and two siblings, Eunice Jordan Leaird and John Lawrence “Larry” Jordan (Dorn).

A service to celebrate Dr. Jordan’s life will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, February 25, at Bethesda Presbyterian Church, 502 E. DeKalb Street, Camden, SC. Rev. John Hallman and Dr. Mike Kelly will officiate. Visitation with the family will follow the service at Westminster Hall. A private burial service will precede the celebration of life service at Lugoff First Baptist Cemetery

Kornegay Funeral Home, Camden Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.

In honor of Dr. Jordan’s life and legacy, President Fant has directed that all NGU flags be flown at half-staff through sundown Sunday, February 24, 2024. A commemorative wreath has been placed at the entrance of the Donald E. Ward Executive Suite in the university’s Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.

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