Dee Jordan, benefactor of the $29.4 million cash gift to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State, is No.17 on the list of the nation’s top donors for 2009. As a result of her gift, the college was named for the Jordan family.
The nation’s top givers are featured in the Feb. 8 edition of the Chronicle of Philanthropy and the online Slate magazine.
“We are so grateful to Dee Jordan for her transformational gift to the Ag One Foundation at Fresno State,” said Fresno State President John D. Welty. “The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology will have new facilities and research opportunities, which will position the college to be a national leader in agricultural education and research.”
While philanthropic gifts – both in size and number – were sharply down nationally in 2009, the Campaign for Fresno State enjoyed its best year, collecting $53.4 million in the period 2008-09. The Jordan gift buoyed that total but other significant gifts were received as well.
These include a $10 million commitment to the College of Engineering from local businessman William Lyles, his family and companies; an anonymous $6 million scholarship bequest; and a $2 million gift from farmer Marvin Meyers to help developa Sports Medicine Center in athletics.
Welty said, “We know that the difference between good universities and great universities is private support. The support we receive from our donors is heartwarming. All gifts, no matter the size, make a difference.”
In addition to her gift to Fresno State, in 2009 Mrs. Jordan also gave to two hospitals in the Bay Area as well as to national funds fighting Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer.
The Jordan family is from the East Bay, where Mrs. Jordan’s husband Bud owned and operated FL Construction, a general contracting business headquartered in Hayward, and his brother Lowell lived on the family Four Bar J ranch in Dublin tending a small herd of highlander cattle.
The Jordan gift is a testament to the importance of relationships. Fresno State emeritus agricultural economics professor Bob Glim and his wife Dorothy introduced the Jordan family to the work of the college at a motor home rally.
Glim did such a great job that the Jordans began a scholarship endowment in November 1995 through the college’s Ag One Foundation without ever setting foot on campus. 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.
After the first gift was made, new friendships were formed with Ag One Executive Director Alcidia Freitas Gomes. She visited the Jordans a few times each year, bringing news of the Jordan scholarship recipients and faculty along with products from the Fresno State farm.
The Campaign for Fresno State continues until June 30, 2012, with a goal of raising $200 million. Gifts to the campaign can be made by visiting www.SupportFresnoState.com.