Robert B. Jordan III

Honorary Doctor of Sciences Degree

Robert B. Jordan III is a business and civic leader who has worked to improve education and economic opportunity throughout a career spanning more than half a century. Born and raised in Mount Gilead, he grew up in a family that valued community involvement and public service. For inspiration, he looked to his father, a founder of Jordan Lumber, the family business. In 1954 Jordan graduated with honors from North Carolina State University with a degree in forestry, and then served two years in the U.S. Army. A month after he returned home, Jordan joined the town council, beginning his record of public service that continues to this day. In 1958 he married Sarah Cole, a Raeford schoolteacher. Together, they immersed themselves in business, community and public life. In 1961 Jordan became one of the youngest members of the UNC Board of Trustees, where he was instrumental in expanding the system and forming the Board of Governors and the 16-campus system. As an original member of the Board of Governors, he chaired the committee that studied the establishment of a medical school at East Carolina University. In 1976 Jordan was elected to the North Carolina Senate, where he served four consecutive terms and promoted sound fiscal policy and championed children’s issues. He served as lieutenant governor from 1985 to 1989, using the strength of the office to lead efforts to improve access to education. He promoted the creation of the Recreational and Natural Heritage Trust Fund to purchase and preserve land for future generations. Jordan has served on the State Board of Education, State Board of Community Colleges, Southern Regional Education Board, board of directors of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center and member of the Board of Trustees for UNC-Charlotte. At NC State, his leadership has been tremendous, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees and chairing the 2004 and 2009 Chancellor Search Committees. He has received numerous awards and honors for his service to the state, including the North Carolina Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award, Darrell Menscer Cup, North Carolina Award for Public Service, North Carolina Forestry Association Distinguished Service Award, Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Honorary Doctor of Humanities from the Methodist College, Beal Award and Watauga Medal, to name a few. Jordan and his wife are members of the Mt. Gilead First United Methodist Church. They have three children: Betsy, Robert and Janie.