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ND alum donates $40 million

Eileen Duffy | Monday, February 7, 2005

Notre Dame will soon add some nine trillion pennies – or $40 million – to its piggy bank, thanks to a generous donation from John “Jay” Jordan II. Jordan is a 1969 alumnus and member of the University’s Board of Trustees. He made his surprise announcement Friday at the Trustees’ annual winter meeting.

The Chicago-area businessman’s gift is the second-largest ever received by the University, with the largest ($50 million) coming from Joan Kroc in 2003. It also establishes Jordan as the most generous benefactor in Notre Dame’s history, surpassing Kroc’s lifetime donation total of $69.1 million.

While the purpose of this gift is as yet undesignated, Jordan’s past contributions to the University have made their presence known on campus. For example, he is the principal benefactor for the $70 million Jordan Hall of Science, currently under construction on Juniper Road just north of the Joyce Center. He was also a principal benefactor for the Mendoza College of Business – the auditorium in that building is named in his honor.

Father John Jenkins, who will become University president in July, called Jordan’s devotion to Notre Dame “unselfish” and “remarkable.”

“The commitment and insight that he brings to our board of trustees is a source of inspiration to all of us at the University,” Jenkins said in a press release. “He can take great comfort in considering the generations of Notre Dame students who will reap the benefits of his contributions in so many ways.”

Current University President Father Edward Malloy also noted the impact that Jordan would have on the University’s future.

“This is an extraordinary gift,” Malloy said, “from a man whose generosity will forever be a legendary part of Notre Dame’s heritage.”

Jordan has held a number of leadership roles on campus, including chair of the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee and chair of the Advisory Council for the College of Business. He is currently serving as chair of the Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee.

The city of Chicago is also feeling Jordan’s impact. He is the founder of The Jordan Company, a private investment firm that acquires, manages and builds companies for the TJC partnership account, and is chairman and chief executive officer of the Chicago-based holding company Jordan Industries Inc. Besides that, Jordan serves on the boards of the YMCA, Lyric Opera and Latin School of Chicago.

Jordan earned a Bachelor’s degree in finance from Notre Dame in 1969. In 2001, he received an honorary degree.

Jordan and his wife currently reside in Chicago. They have two children; John “J.W.” Jordan III, class of 2001, and Jennifer Jordan, class of 2003.